Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Why are the UK visa offices not open

Published:Friday | July 10, 2020 | 12:15 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I am writing to express my concern about the prolonged closure of the United Kingdom (UK) visa office in Jamaica. In this global setting, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains the need for individuals to travel across borders for both work and study. To travel to the UK for either of these reasons, one requires a visa. Now quite understandably, the Kingston Visa office was closed on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than three months later, however, the office remains closed, with no indication of when it will reopen. If one were to check the website of the company that facilitates the visa process, VFS Global, states, “VFS Global Visa Application Centres operate strictly in accordance with the directives of the central and local government authorities and the diplomatic mission of the country (i.e embassy/consulate) for which a visa is being applied.”

It is interesting to note that the visa offices have either opened, or have indicated that they will open in countries that have recorded infections and death rates from COVID-19 far higher than Jamaica. Countries included on this list are the United States, Canada, Egypt, Iraq, Fiji, and Zimbabwe, to name a few. So what could possibly be the reason why Jamaican citizens are being neglected?

CONCERNED CITIZEN