Wednesday, February 9, 2011
‘Massive Budget Deficit’ Makes UK Government Shift Visa Process
NEWS Banjul the gambia (MB)- The British High Commission in The Gambia in concurrence in the company of the United Kingdom Border Agency with upshot from Thursday 17th February, 2011, will legitimately slam its Visa Section in Banjul, and their office in Accra, Ghana will process all visas.
This latest shift was made well-known to journalists at a press conference held at the High Commission conference hall in Faraja on the 4th February, 2011.
Speaking to journalists, Mr. Ian Underhill, Regional Entry Clearance Manager told journalists that with effect from February 17th, all visa process in the Banjul will come to an end as their new office in Accra will process visa applications.
According to him, the decision of closing visa section in Banjul is a message communicated to them from the UK government but was quick to say that the High Commission will remain open for business; their staff will continue their daily official duties at the High Commission.
“We are changing our visa application process because the government of UK wants to make more savings, as we are currently facing budget deficiency, as a result our government has called on all its departments to make savings for the betterment of our citizens,” he remarked.
Mr. Underhill noted that the new visa assessing process has not only affects The Gambia but many parts of Africa, Europe, and America. He explained that their new office in Accra have more resources that in Banjul as Accra is a hub, and can be a place for the UK government to make much savings.
In The Gambia, Underhill disclosed that they small number of visa applications and that is costing them millions of pounds. “In fact last year, we receive 5000 visa applicants in The Gambia, and 2.5 million world wide in 2010,” he pointed out.
He buttressed that their move to Accra will not make any changes in their visa application process saying that “even if we close our visa section in Banjul, people can still fill our online application, submit their required documentation and will be given an appointment for interview at the High Commissioner,” he explained.
According to Underhill, all applications submitted at the High Commission in Fajara, will be forwarded by courier for consideration at the British Commission in Accra noting that all application documentation will be “Accr instead of Bjl on all their documents that will only be the notice people can observe in the new move.
He repeated: “The United Kingdom has a “massive budget deficit,” but was quick to say that is not only the UK that is suffering from budget deficit but other nations too is facing such crises,” Underhill says.
He further told journalists that two of the Gambian and UK staff has been laid of by the UK Boarder Agency at the Banjul visa section.
On why many Gambian are refuse visa, in reply, he said any applicant that do not meet all the requirement will be refuse visa adding that “ some Gambian dot not meet the requirement but still apply for visa, so all that the visa section do, is to refuse them a visa” to travel to UK.
He then advised visa applicants to make sure that they meet the requirement before applying for a visa for UK noting that rejected applicants will not be refunded their monies as that is not in their laws, and hold the believe that other countries are not refunding monies to applicant that are refuse visas.