Brits clarify visa move (01-03-07

HARARE - The British Embassy has denied allegations that the move to transfer visa applications to Pretoria was political, insisting that these were worldwide changes aimed at cutting costs.
British embassy spokesperson Gillian Dare told The Zimbabwean that the actual processing of visa applicati

ons has been transferred to Pretoria because of a worldwide decision taken by UK Visas, an agency hired by the British government to handle visa applications.
“This is a self -funding organisation that handles visa applications globally,” Dare said in a telephone interview. The embassy announced last Friday that all visa applications by Zimbabweans would be handled in South Africa with effect from July this year. Dare said applications would continue to be lodged in Harare but then sent by courier for processing, and the move was not peculiar to Zimbabwe alone but the entire region.
The embassy will retain a small visa operation in Harare to handle emergencies such as compassionate cases, Zimbabwean diplomatic passport holders traveling on official business, applications from diplomatic missions in Harare and other applications meeting with visa express criteria. – Gift Phiri

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