The government is discussing visa denials and limiting immigration with other countries.
According to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. John Mulimba, the Foreign Office, ended a five-day joint commission for cooperation with South Africa on July 11, 2022, during which immigration issues were discussed in a bid to settle this issue.
On Tuesday, July 12, 2022, Mulimba said so in a statement to Parliament regarding the steps taken to ease strict visa requirements for Ugandans.
He went on to say that the government was also pursuing bilateral visa waiver agreements with a number of countries.
“To date, we have agreements in place with 65 countries that exempt Ugandans from needing visas for international travel.
We continue to encourage nations to issue visas on arrival to manage emergency situations, Mulimba said.
He mentioned that in order to expedite and validate the visa application procedure for government employees on official business, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues diplomatic notes to the concerned foreign missions accredited in Uganda.
Furthermore, he noted that regional contacts with partner countries have been established, particularly in East Africa and with COMESA countries where Ugandans are not subject to visa requirements.
The Minister noted that many Ugandans are denied visas due to various factors including failure to provide clear explanations of their travel plans, late submission of visa applications, submission of false documents and overstaying. visas.
While chairing the meeting, Vice President Thomas Tayebwa noted that it has become impossible to grant applicants visas, especially when they have to wait a long time for appointments.
He mentioned having raised the same issues during the 10th Parliament. He said Ugandans would gather in the early morning to queue at the Chinese Embassy, but with government involvement, an online method had been put in place.
“Uganda is an important player on the world stage and our nation is open. For the welfare of the people, we want the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work even harder, Tayebwa said.
He also instructed the Minister to brief the House on the situation of Ugandans detained abroad.
“Especially in Asia, when Ugandans are sentenced to life or death, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs used to negotiate very aggressively.
Tayebwa continued, “The issue of consular services to Ugandans abroad needs to be addressed.
Hon. Hanifa Nabikeera (NUP, Mukono District) expressed concern over the delay or denial of study visas for some students who she says have made fee commitments to overseas institutions.
In accordance with the terms of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, many young Ugandan traders have not been able to travel freely, according to Hon. Boniface Okot (NRM, Youth of the North).
In order to grant visa waivers to our young traders, he suggested that we expedite negotiations with countries that have ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
Hon. Josyline Kamateneti, Ntungamo District MP, expressed concern about labor export companies that take advantage of innocent Ugandans while claiming to speed up the visa or passport application process.
“I implore the Minister of Foreign Affairs to establish clear rules on how these companies should conduct their business.
Someone pays 400,000 shillings for a quick passport but gets it three months later, she claimed.
Hon. Kajara County MP Micheal Timuzigu called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work with other national organizations to implement civic education on international travel.
According to him, this will allow Ugandans to learn about the documents needed for travel applications and speed up the visa application process.