Failure on the part of over 6000 Ghanaians to make good on their word and return home after the expiration of their US visas is the major reason many other colleagues of theirs are ‘bounced’ when they apply for visas to travel to the United States of America.
This was revealed by US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson when he took his turn on ’21 minutes with KKB’ as he spoke to GhanaWeb editor, Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng on a wide range of issues.
Mr. Jackson who was detailing the reasons for difficulty in accessing US Visas said Ghanaians are mostly denied these permits because previous patterns show that several travelers; about 7,000 out of the 16,000 persons offered visas annually overstay their permit, creating problems for the US embassy who then is left with the sole responsibility of ‘fishing’ out these ‘illegal’ persons and processing them for deportation.
“Because almost 7,000 of your country men have overstayed their visas or committed crimes in the United States and are in some stage of the deportation process, it makes it harder for other Ghanaians to get visas so they have to show that they will have strong ties to Ghana, that is the US law, that they show that they have strong ties to Ghana”.
The less privileged, less educated who are single and young he explained, stand a much smaller chance of securing visas to the US compared to persons who have higher standing in society. Such persons according to him, are trying to secure their future and have very little to lose should they decide to stay longer than they are due and are therefore taken through a more stringent screening process and many of them are denied visas.
“We look at everything about the person but poor, less educated Ghanaians who are single and young are more likely to overstay their visas, that’s just a fact and so they get additional screening. People who are young and single in particular have a hard time demonstrating that they have strong ties to Ghana”.
He cited Ghana as the 5th ranked country with the largest number of ‘illegal’ immigrants in the United States of America, the other four being India, China, the Philippines, and Russia whose numbers are higher compared to that of Ghana.
“Each year, approximately 16,000 Ghanaians are issued visas for travel to the United States for business, education and tourism. The reason that there is a high bar for showing strong ties to Ghana is because Ghanaians constitute the 5th largest number of people who have overstayed their visas in the United States. Up there with India, China, the Philippines, Russia which have much larger populations than Ghana does.”
“There are more Ghanaians who are in deportation proceedings right now than people from Mexico or people from Nigeria which also have larger populations than Ghana”.