Immigration consultants Breytenbachs says that many Southern Africans are having difficulty getting their UK visitor visas approved by the Sheffield Visa office.
Changes in the UK Visas and Immigration’s (UKVI’s) administration mean that South African visas are no longer processed locally.
Instead, they are sent to the head office in Sheffield to be processed alongside applications from all around the globe.
Breytenbachs said that the refusal rate is especially high for applicants with partners in the UK, or parents living in the UK.
Unemployed persons, and those who do not have sufficient funds or accommodation arranged in the UK, also get easily refused, it said.
“Unfortunately, many travel agents assisting their clients with UK visitor visas are not aware of how strict Sheffield is at present.”
Breytenbachs said that the high refusal rate seems to lie in the fact that the Sheffield Visa section believes that applicants will not return to Southern Africa.
“This conviction stems from the fact that, unfortunately, many persons choose not to return to Southern Africa on the expiry of their visas and become illegal. Others overstay on their visas,” it said.
Breytenbachs said that when applying for a visa, the applicant needs to demonstrate that he or she has responsibilities to return to Southern Africa.
It said that one can prove responsibilities in the following ways:
- Strong ties and responsibilities to return to South Africa;
- The specific date of return to South Africa;
- Evidence of family members remaining in South Africa;
- Property owned or rented in South Africa;
- Sufficient funds;
- Accommodation arranged for the UK stay.