Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North, has raised the issue of visas in Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for International Development in the House of Commons this week.
Watch the full session HERE >> (question at 11:37)
Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North, asked: “If we are to promote trade, we need to be able to promote travel. However, the Scotland Malawi Partnership and others have received a litany of complaints from people who want to come to the United Kingdom and sell their goods from East Africa, but have been denied visas by the Home Office. Will the Secretary of State meet representatives of the Home Office as a matter of urgency to ensure that they sort out the mess of the East Africa visa system?”
Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, responded: “I have frequent dialogues with colleagues throughout the Government. As the honourable gentleman will know, 70 of my staff are embedded in the Department for International Trade to deal with these issues, particularly in respect of developing nations, but if he knows of any specific cases and will pass them on to me, I shall be happy to look at these.”
The Scotland Malawi Partnership welcomes the Minister’s commitment to look at specific cases, and we are grateful to UKVI for their responsiveness to individual cases we raise on behalf of our members.
However our members continue to be dismayed at the experiences their Malawian partners face when trying to visit the UK. Our experience shows us there are systemic flaws that need addressing beyond occasional cases, and these flaws continue to be a challenge to the friendship between our two countries.
Members are reminded that the SMP can assist with their UK visa applications, as we have strong channels to offer direct support, but we need to be contacted before the applications are complete. Please contact David and Stuart as early as possible in the process.
We express our sincere thanks to Patrick Grady for continuing to represent this issue which remains such a big concern for our members.