Young innovators in Ghana have called for reforms in visa processing at various foreign embassies in the country.
Gathering under a program called “innovators and migration” the young people lamented the continuous struggle in securing visa for regular and legal travels to Europe.
Many of these young people are students and some just starting their own businesses but often get opportunities to visit Europe to fulfill their aspirations.
But many a time visa acquisition procedures mean that they are rejected visas to travel for fear of them not coming back to their home countries.
That has led some to use irregular means to reach Europe, dying in the process or being subjected to inhumane treatments by human traffickers.
The young people at a round table discussion in Ghana’s capital Accra, rejected the idea that all young Africans aspiring to travel to Europe do so desiring not to return.
Review visa procedures
They have called for review of visa acquisition procedures, demanding a more relaxed process that is fair to all aspiring to travel for work and studies.
The meeting was put together by German and Ghanaian youth led organisations hoping to spark constructive conversations around migration.
These organisations are already pushing for the creation of a bigger data base of information on migration.
They are already coordinating the creation of Wikipedia articles on migration to enable young people have access to as much information on travels to Europe.
For a start, articles being created focus on migrating to Germany before rolling out into other countries.
The articles inform young people aspiring to reach Europe and other countries abroad on how to go about it and what it entails.
Sandister Tei from Wikimedia Ghana revealed that “We choose Wikipedia as one of the digital media tools to get information about migration because we know when people google things, a lot of times Wikipedia pops up as one of the search results, topmost results for people to find information on what they are googling. So what we are doing here is we are fixing articles that concern migration from Ghana to Germany.
It’s for free and very clear, not whining like you know these visa websites, that you click here you were there. Very straight forward information. Yes we are putting it there. Even we are trying to be ambitious by converting some of the articles into audio so that people who can’t read but can listen would have access as well.”
Will Senyo from Impact Hub Accra told Africa Feeds that many young people have been misled for far too long on migration issues and that needs to change.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there that complicates the life of young people trying to experience the world. We think there is an opportunity to make it a lot less complex and also easily accessible information for those that want to engage the world to do it in the safest possible way.
It is really critical to be able to provide opportunities for global engagement and also to be able to let information be easily accessible for young people to engage on that global scale.”
Young Ghanaians travel to Europe each year mainly to look for jobs, study, or attend events.
But thousands are still denied visa entries despite following the due procedures.
Theresa Fend from Global Innovation Gathering, one of the lead groups for the initiative says most of them are misinformed on the necessary steps to acquire a visa.
“So we want to do two things, with this project, first of all is to improve the information base to make it easier for young people to understand what kind of knowledge is needed in order to travel correctly and the other part have been looking into is how can we come up with recommendations for embassies and other organizations involved in migration issues to make the processes more easier understandable, may be improve policies and see how we can change overall experience.”
The young people are expected to formalize their concerns on visa acquisition processes and submit a formal petition to embassies for review.