Friday, 28 June 2013

Proposed UK Visa Restriction

The proposed visa restriction which the British government intends to pilot from November this year in which visitors from some countries including Ghana will be made to deposit a whooping three thousand pounds as guarantee for their return is most distasteful. Other countries to be affected by such a bond include Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. According to the British Home Secretary, Theresa May, these countries have been selected due to the level of abuse of British Immigration laws and high volume of human traffic to the United Kingdom. The move is therefore to deter people from overstaying upon expiry of their visa. According to the Home Office, the policy generally will be expanded to cover foreign workers and students. At the moment, visa to the UK costs between 80 to 800 pounds depending on the type of visitor.

Even though the policy has not been finalised yet, it is important to make loud noise over the intent in view of past experiences and its selective and discriminatory nature. If today Ghana finds itself in distress causing some of its nationals to migrate to the developed world in search of so-called greener pastures, it might be due partly to the harsh and strangulating economic conditions imposed by the Bretton-Wood institutions which include the World Bank, IMF and the International Finance Corporation. Some of the countries calling the shots today including Britain, are instrumental for the weak financial situations Third World Countries find themselves in. Instead of teaching us how to fish they prefer to give us fish on high economic terms. As our one time colonial master, we least expected Britain to attempt to slap such a stringent immigration policy on us. Have they forgotten so soon how they besieged Africa for her abundant natural resources, which they shipped to their countries, added value to them and sold them back to us at exorbitant prices as finished products? We have not forgotten the obnoxious slave trade which deprived us of our strong and energetic skillful human resource which they used in developing their countries. Today the world has become a global village where countries depend on each other. So where one country no matter the size attempts to inhibit others with such immigration restrictions then it leaves much to be desired. Ghana and UK enjoy a very good bilateral relationship so we must be cautious when coming out with some of these policies.

The question is, why would anybody be tagged high risk simply because of the nationality. We recall the Certificate of Approval policy introduced by the Home Office in 2005 which required all foreign nationals who were subject to immigration control to obtain permission before marrying. This policy fell through because it was well thought out. In the recent past the UK threatened to cut aid to Ghana if it refuses to legalise homosexuality. We ask ourselves, why is Ghana always a target for Britain? Is it a case of neo-colonialism? It is good the proposed policy has not yet been relayed to government. When it is done government must forthrightly oppose it, for it is detrimental to education, tourism and globalization. Britain must rethink the proposed visa restriction for it is not in consonance with North-South Cooperation and International relations. Ghanaians must also learn to stay in their home country to help in it6s development. Where we migrate to other countries, we must come back when our visa expires. We seem to be exposing ourselves too much to international ridicule just because of hardship back home. Let us all put our hands on deck to build our home country, after all home sweet home.


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