The managing director of Move Up, a locally based immigration agency specialising in UK visas, has challenged the recent visa refusal statistics released by the Home Office in the UK.
In an interview with John Maytham on popular radio station Cape Talk earlier this month, Nic Cheeseman – the University of Birmingham’s Professor of Democracy – lamented a particular statistic released by the Home Office: “People from Africa are twice as likely to have their visa applications denied than people from anywhere else in the world.”
But Ryan Rennison, managing director of Move Up, says that this statistic is misleading and may be discouraging South Africans who want to apply for UK visas.
“Lumping South Africa into a statistical category with the rest of the nations of Africa is horribly misleading to the public, because it creates a skewed perception that is simply untrue,” said Rennison.
He added, “With the exception of Kenya, South Africa actually has the lowest visa refusal rate when compared to the rest of Africa, and by quite a significant margin”.
Move Up’s in-house statistics show that during the ten years they have been operating, they have had only 3% of their visa applications denied across all UK visa categories. These refusals are then challenged and often reversed.
“The visa refusal rate we’ve experienced is extremely low due to our expertise around the Home Office’s rules for each type of visa and the fact that our consultants have years of experience handling thousands of applications. In fact, during our free visa assessments with potential clients, we won’t even take on their case if we know that they don’t qualify for the visa they want,” said Rennison.
“When it comes to tourist visas, however, the UK government – along with all the other major English-speaking nations – have strict requirements applicants must meet before they will be allowed to visit the UK,” he added.
Rennison admitted that applicants who apply for a UK visa outside of their home country are far more likely to have their application rejected, possibly due to a perceived security alert that is triggered.
While Professor Cheeseman in his radio interview went on to suggest there may be “institutionalised racism” operating amongst the visa processing teams, Jill Wilmans, the CEO of new international financial services company, Secure FX, said that according to her research and experience UK visa applications from African nationals, when rejected, are refused for legitimate reasons.
“With illegal immigration and security concerns on the rise globally, UK visa applications from individuals hailing from African countries may be rejected due to a lack of travel history and inadequate proof of funds to support their stay,” said Wilmans.
“A travel history outside of the UK, however, usually adds momentum to an application,” she added.
“Existing protocols amongst government agencies include the sharing of information related to compliance checks, employment and available funds as they relate to visa management. These protocols are linked to a dramatic decrease in illegal immigrations for Australia, Canada, the United States of America and the UK,” added Wilmans.
While recent trends in South Africa show a massive increase in the number of requests for international visas, Cheeseman’s statements give the impression that applicants would suffer a higher chance of rejection if they were South African.
“Reputable South African visa companies pride themselves on accuracy of information and quality representation, which results in successful visa applications,” concluded Wilmans.
Current Emigration Statistics
• According to Wilmans, 0.3% of the world’s population relocate from their country of origin every year, which makes South Africa’s emigration statistics still within the normal range.
• In 2019 so far, approximately 7,000 people are leaving South Africa every month.
• She adds that for every person moving to South Africa (through formal visa processes), eight people are leaving the country.
• In the first quarter of 2019, 14.2% of houses in South African were sold due to emigration, compared to just 2% in 2013, and 8% in 2018.
• South Africa’s taxpayer base is currently being reduced by 200 taxpayers per day, she said.
• South Africa has seen 364% year-on-year growth in 2nd passport (dual nationality) applications.
• In 2018, 29,000 USD millionaires left BRICS countries to move to Australia, USA, UK Israel, Canada, Singapore and Switzerland.