UK temporarily stops processing visitor visas for Nigerians — Quartz Africa

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The UK will stop processing visitor visa applications from Nigeria because, according to the UK, travelers from Nigeria contributed to 15% of its omicron cases as of December 5.

In one statement announcing the suspensionthe UK said potential travelers can still apply for visas, but they will not hear from the immigration unit about the status of their application, nor will they be refunded if they provided biometric details during the application process.

The UK issues visitor visas for purposes such as visiting friends and family, tourism, business meetings, study for less than 6 months and private medical care. But except for British and Irish citizens living in Nigeria, demands for all of this will be left in limbo.

The visa suspension affects applications from Nigeria and 10 southern African countries on the UK’s covid-19 red list. Nigeria’s addition to the list today (6 December) comes less than a week after the first cases of the omicron variant were reported in the country. Ghana reported cases on the same day but is not on the UK red list.

omicron’s UK travel ban is all-African

Although the UK has said the visa suspension is temporary (submitted applications will be answered at some point), it draws attention to the fact that only African countries are on the UK’s red list. for a variant spotted in at least 45 countries, including developed European countries. economies like Denmark where 183 cases were reported on December 5.

Atedo Peterside, former bank CEO and Nigerian government minister, questioned the idea of ​​a travel ban which discriminates between Nigerians and Britons. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, questioned why travel bans only applied to Africa when omicron was found in other countries. “Singling out African countries is very unfair, unscientific and discriminatory,” he said.

Even a temporary visa ban is also a reminder that Africans are often twice as likely to be refused UK visas as people from other continents, as a 2019 report by UK lawmakers revealed. If this was the case before the pandemic, there are now fears that the requirements of African travelers will become more onerous.

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