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26.06.2019 General News

Ghana Cooperates With US To Resolve Visa Restriction — Minister

By Staff Writer
Ghana Cooperates With US To Resolve Visa Restriction — Minister

The Minister of Interior, Ambrose Derry, has said government is determined to resolve the visa restriction on the country by the United States of America.

He said the state is liaising with US officials to bring finality to the issue.

The US in February imposed visa restrictions on Ghana for refusing to facilitate the return of some 7,000 Ghanaian nationals facing deportation from the US.

The US Embassy in Accra was instructed to limit the awarding of visas to certain applicants, such as the domestic staff of diplomats posted to America.

Speaking at an event to commemorate the 243rd USA independence and 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the Moon, Mr. Derry said Ghana hopes to strengthen its relationship with the US.

“We assure you and the government of the USA of Ghana's readiness to continue to grow bilateral relations between our countries and cooperate to bring to closure the matter on visa restrictions being imposed on Ghana,” he said.

Ghana's Ambassador to the US, Dr Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, in May 2019 told the media that the government, led by the Foreign Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, had held two successful meetings with the US authorities aimed at bringing the restrictions to an end and he was confident that the matter will be resolved soon.

Limitations were also placed on the validity and the number of entries on new tourists and business visas for all Ghanaian Executive and Legislative branch employees, their spouses and their children under 21 years to a one-month single entry.

Since the imposition of the restrictions, some workers of public institutions who used to receive five-year visas now get up to three weeks maximum, with others having far less.

There are fears that should the issue remain unresolved, the restrictions will be extended to other groups as part of the effort to mount pressure on the government to heed the demand of the US government to issue visas to the over 7,000 Ghanaians pinned for deportation.

Meanwhile, the United States of America (USA) has deported 642 Ghanaians convicted of various offences, including acts that undermined border control and the integrity of the US immigration system, in three years.

A report on the activities of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in the 2018 fiscal year said the Ghanaians were deported between 2016 and 2018.