UK, Europe Make Millions by Rejecting Visas, While Africa Suffers Most, Research Finds


Foreign Visitors Boost UK Spending in 2023 Amid High Visa Rejection Rates for Africans

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In 2023, the UK welcomed 38.0 million foreign visitors who spent a total of $37.6 billion, marking a $5.6 billion increase compared to 2022, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. However, the high number of visa rejections has become a point of contention, especially for visitors from low- and middle-income countries.

The UK earned £44 million from visa application fees in 2023 for applications that were subsequently rejected. This trend is mirrored in the EU, which collected €130 million from rejected visa applications, as revealed by a study conducted by the LAGO Collective, a research group focused on arts and migration.

African visitors faced particularly high rejection rates, ranging from 40% to 70%. Visa payments from African applicants contributed €54 million to European coffers, almost half of all visa payment collections.

“Visa inequality has very tangible consequences and the world’s poorest pay the price,” said Marta Foresti, founder of LAGO.

Costs are expected to rise in 2024, with the UK increasing the standard application fee for a short-stay visitor visa from £100 (almost $127) to £115 (approx. $146) in October 2023. Similarly, the EU raised visa fees from €80 to €90 in June this year.

The study highlighted that Algeria had the highest visa rejection rate for the UK at 71%, followed by Bangladesh at 53%. Ghana, Pakistan, and Nigeria had rejection rates between 30% and 46%.

Last year, the EU and Schengen countries received over 10.3 million applications for short-stay visas but approved only 8.5 million, according to European Commission data. Among African applicants, citizens of Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, and Mali faced the highest refusal rates at 51%, 47.5%, and 46.1%, respectively.

Margaret Monyani, a senior migration researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, explained that these trends reflect ongoing patterns of exploitation and control from colonial times, which continue to shape diplomatic and economic relations between African and European countries, particularly in their visa policies.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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