Policy Dialogue & Advocacy
Dr Oqubay expressed his concern on the UK’s visa system for African visitors. Thus, without prejudice to the UK’s right as a sovereign state to determine its own immigration policy and visa system for visitors to the UK, he calls on the UK Government to give urgent attention to improving the current system, especially as it applies to applicants from the African continent.
OPEN LETTER TO THE UK
Dear Prime Minister: three ways to improve the UK’s visa system for African visitors
At last month’s UK‒Africa Investment Summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that the United Kingdom will introduce a fairer immigration system built on “treating people the same wherever they come from, by putting people before passports.”
Does the UK discriminate against African visitors? According to a study by the Royal African Society (RAS), “African applicants are over twice as likely to be refused a UK visa than applicants from any other part of the world”. The study concludes that “the UK has good relations with most African countries, but it needs to be recognised that no single issue does more potential damage to the image or influence of the UK in Africa than this visa question.”
The perception is that the objective of the policy and practice is to increase barriers and “deliberately decrease the number of applicants” from Africa.
British MPs have also warned that UK-African relations are being severely damaged by what they refer to as a “broken” UK visitor visa system. The system not only denies legitimate African visitors access to the UK, but prevents the UK from benefiting from the talents and skills being harnessed in Africa.
Boris Johnson’s New-Model Colonial Policy
By Arkebe Oqubay
By subsuming the UK’s renowned international-development agency under the country’s diplomatic apparatus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims to be looking out for the British taxpayer. In fact, he is striking a severe blow to Britain’s own soft power, economic prospects, and moral standing in the world.
ADDIS ABABA – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to merge the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is a deliberate slap in the face to developing countries. Worse, it comes just when African countries are crying out for international support to fight COVID-19 and its economic fallout.
Johnson has made clear that his post-Brexit vision of a “swashbuckling” UK leaves scant room for commitments to Africa or the wider developing world. DfID’s absorption into the bowels of the country’s diplomatic apparatus represents a reversal of the United Kingdom’s landmark 1997policy shift vis-à-vis Africa, “Eliminating World Poverty – A Challenge for the 21st Century.” By putting the agency directly under the control of the foreign ministry, Johnson is signaling that international development will play second fiddle to foreign policy and security concerns.