Is UK privatising consular services?

Editor, as a British citizen, I think these measures are really very wrong. It’s also very damaging to British interests – we are making it intolerably difficult for the many thousands of genuine visitors to enter the United Kingdom. And the fees involved are unacceptable.

Editor,

REFERENCE IS made to the article, “UK issues new visa application procedures” (The New Times, March 25).

As a British citizen, I think these measures are really very wrong. It’s also very damaging to British interests – we are making it intolerably difficult for the many thousands of genuine visitors to enter the United Kingdom. And the fees involved are unacceptable.

What we are witnessing looks very much like the slow privatisation of British consular services – something which even the US would never contemplate. If you want to get a visa to the US, your application is reviewed by consular officials, not by some private firm. And you will get an interview in a matter of days.

Really, there needs to be collective rethink in the Foreign Office about all of this – it paints the UK in a very bad light, making us seem like an unwelcoming country.

Andy Britton, 
Rwanda

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THIS DECISION by the British High Commission in Kigali comes as surprise. We can’t talk of better services while taking service delivery points far from the people who need the services and increasing the cost, which automatically reduces access to those services for those whose capacity is limited. They need to re-visit the definition of “better services”.

This reminds me of the old days when we (Rwandans) used to go to Kampala to apply for the British visa. We used to go through horrible experience. 

People used to start lining up at 2am to fight for the limited number of applicants received per day. Some people in Kampala had made it a business to come and line up and later sell their coupons to those who came late.

Have they seriously thought about someone paying Rwf66,900, plus other costs, and later denied a visa? For me, this is the same business that the British High Commission in Kampala used to do.

Will the FedEx reimburse the unsuccessful applicant? We are partners (with the UK) and all moves should converge to offer good services to our people.

For Rwandans, it is at Kigali where documents can better be processed and visa granted or denied; not in Nairobi.

DBM,
Rwanda

 

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