What does the recent US visa ban on Ghana mean for applicants?

The United States has made true on its threats of visa sanctions to the Ghanaian government for refusing to allow repatriates back into their country.

US visa ban on Ghana

Ghana joins the likes of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Eritrea and Cambodia, in a visa sanction by the United States, since the country has been deemed uncooperative in receiving repatriates.

For citizens to be deported, the accepting countries must issue travel documents for those being repatriated before the U.S. can deport them. However, Ghana refused to provide these documents, reported the Washington Examiner.

This means that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be forced to release the arrested aliens in its custody after six months as it is unconstitutional to indefinitely hold unto a person that does not have a pathway toward being deported.

Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said on Thursday: “Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States.

Hence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo "has ordered consular officers in Ghana to implement visa restrictions on certain categories of visa applicants,” according to a statement by the DHS.

What does this mean for Ghanaian applicants to the US?

Quartz Africa has reported that Ghana had a whooping sum of 1.73 million applicants to the US diversity program, which accounts for 7% of the country's population.

This means that a lot of Ghanaians are hopeful towards travelling to the United States.

With its fast-growing economy, Ghana has being a good rep, in recent times, in terms of visa acceptance and number of countries that allow less stricter visa policies, such as visa-on-arrival. Late 2018, Ghana was announced as the only West African country that was allowed visa-free entry into South Africa.

It isn't clear what the visa ban entails or what category of applicants it covers, but it is clear that the sanction poses a great threat to Ghana's international rep.

According to the statement by the DHS, “without an appropriate response from Ghana, the scope of these sanctions may be expanded to a wider population.” 

Hopefully, Ghana works with the US to resolve the issues soon.

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