Visa issues for Africans increase, warn NGOs groups
Visa issues for Africans increase, since NGOs and humanitarian groups are warning that applicants from African countries are facing high difficulties to get approved. Moreover, the change is affecting humanitarian organizations, universities and research centers.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) published an analysis that shows that African country applicants face difficulties, compared to other travelers from abroad.
In 2018, Canada approved just over a half of all visa applications from Africa. Furthermore, IRCC data point that the approval rate for African applicants fell by 18.4 per cent between 2015 and 2018.
Amnesty International’s Alex Neve has stated that his organization frequently deals with rejected visas issues. For instance, many human rights leaders and activists from the African continent are being turned down just before they are to appear for public speaking events or governmental meetings.
“These are individuals who, in many instances, have travelled the world frequently, have been to the United Nations to give addresses in front of UN bodies”, says Neve. Nonetheless, “they are turned down summarily, arbitrarily – often with very little explanation.”
Alex Neve has called for the government of Canada to conduct a careful study of why this is happening.
Denials are confusing researchers and students
Other public figures such as Danny Glenwright, director of Action Against Hunger, have called out against this issue. For instance, Glenwright has stated: “It’s become more pronounced in the last couple years”.
This issue should interest governmental bodies, warns Glenwright. In conclusion, “It means we can’t accomplish our work”, says Glenwright.
But those who have been affected the most are, without a doubt, applicants themselves. Areeg Abbas, medical student and activist working to educate women about female genital mutilation, got turned down, since it seems there were concerns that she wouldn’t return to her home country behind the rejection. Nonetheless, she received her visa after the organization intervened on her behalf.
Reapplying carries higher risk of rejection
However, the issue is not merely with rejections. It seems reapplying also carries a risk in itself. For example, Jackie Bonisteel, an Ottawa-based immigration lawyer, has said that a first rejection influences how an application is looked at in the future. Therefore, “applying again is an uphill battle”, warns Bonisteel.
“The new officer who looks at a second application is going to see that first refusal. And it can have a negative impact.”
Bonisteel also stresses how even applicants that meet all visa requirements are being denied. Consequently, she says that this points at some sort of racial profiling, where some candidates just don’t get the right amount of chances from the start.
Ultimately though,there was an increase in actual visitors. Data shows that the overall number of visitors from African countries has risen since 2015.
Nonetheless, many NGOs and humanitarian groups are bringing the issue to governmental bodies, in order to assess no discrimination is involved in the visa assessment process.