US Visa Restriction: Parliament summons Foreign Affairs Minister

The Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament is scheduled to meet Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, over visa sanctions imposed on Ghana by the United States of America (USA).

“Early part of next week, we should be able to host her because it is a very urgent matter that we need to address,” Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee revealed on Friday, 1 February 2019.

US announced the implementation of visa sanctions on Ghana for the country’s lack of cooperation in accepting Ghanaians that have been deported from the U.S.

“Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its nationals removed from the United States,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a press statement.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in the statement, ordered the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo to order embassy officers in Ghana to implement the visa restrictions on certain categories of visa applicants.

“Pursuant to her authority under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen notified Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Government of Ghana has denied or unreasonably delayed accepting their nationals ordered removed from the United States,” the statement said.

The American authorities further stated that Ghana risks further sanctions if the government’s posture does not change.

“Without an appropriate response from Ghana, the scope of these sanctions may be expanded to a wider population. The sanctions will remain in place until the Secretary of Homeland Security notifies Secretary Pompeo that cooperation on removals has improved to an acceptable level.”

According to the statement, from 4 February 2019, the US embassy in Ghana will cease to issue all non-immigrant visas to domestic employees (A3 and G5) of Ghanaian officials travelling to the US.

“It is important to note that A3 and G5 visa applications will be processed but no visas in these categories will be issued while these restrictions remain in effect,” the statement noted

Limitations have also been placed on the duration period and number of entries on new business and tourist visas (B1, B2, B1/B2) for employees of individuals from the Ghanaian executive and legislature.

Spouses and children of all Ghanaians in the executive and legislature will also be affected by the sanctions.