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HomeBusinessEconomyNumber of Kenyans who travelled to U.S to visit relatives dropped by 89% in 2020

Number of Kenyans who travelled to U.S to visit relatives dropped by 89% in 2020

Number of Kenyans who travelled to U.S. to visit relatives dropped by 89% in 2020

The number of Kenyans who travelled to the United States of America (U.S.A) to visit their relatives dropped by 89 percent in 2020.

According to the data seen by Metropol TV, the U.S Embassy in Kenya issued 624 immediate relative visas to Kenyans visiting their relatives in the U.S. in 2020 down from 1,190 in 2019.

The reduction in the issuance of Visas has been attributed to the suspension of routine visa services in late March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the U.S. Embassy in Kenya, the issuance of Visas was restricted to only mission critical and emergency services.

“This had a significant impact on the provision of Immigrant and Non-immigrant Visa-related services.  Posts were only able to resume limited services on a post-by-post basis beginning in July, as local conditions allowed,” said a local U.S. Embassy official on condition of anonymity.

Data provided by the U.S. Embassy in Kenya shows that 13,224 Africans were issued with Immediate Relative Visas in 2020, compared to the previous year’s number, which stood at 23,586, reflecting a 43.9 percent reduction in the number of visas issued in 2020.

Kenya was ranked sixth on the list of African countries whose citizens were issued Immediate Relative Visas. Out of the 624 U.S. immediate relative visas that were issued in Kenya, 273 were issued to children of U.S. citizens while 139 were issued to Kenyans travelling to see their children in the U.S.

Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest economy, had the highest number of citizens on the continent who visited the U.S. on immediate relative visas which stood at 1,686.

486 of the Nigerian visa applicants were parents of U.S. citizens aged 21 years and above.

This was the highest number of U.S. visas issued under that category in Africa. Ghanaians were the second highest recipients of immediate relative visas from the U.S. at 1,610.

Ethiopia ranked third on the list, with 1,348 immediate relative visas having been issued to Ethiopians travelling to the U.S. in 2020. 454 of the visas were issued to Ethiopians travelling to see their children in the U.S.

South Africa, which is Africa’s third largest economy, received 262 immediate relative visas.

The release of the numbers comes at a time when the U.S. Government is extensive reviewing its immigration laws.

During his first month in office, U.S. President Joe Biden issued over 36 Executive Orders, most of which were focused on immigration.

Among the executive actions he took on immigration was to revoke former U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order requiring “…Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas.”

In his move to open the door to thousands of non-US citizens seeking opportunities in the world’s largest economy, President Biden termed the move by his predecessor to restrict immigration as “…a stain on our national conscience”.

 “Now, Therefore, I, Joseph R. Biden Jr., President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that the unrestricted entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of this proclamation would, except as provided for in section 2 of this proclamation, be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions.” reads U.S President Biden’s Proclamation on the suspension of entry as immigrants and non-Immigrants.

Biden’s move could see the end of a ban on a number of African countries, which had been banned from seeking visas to the states. The affected countries include Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Libya, and Somalia.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk. (+254 706 422 774 or lawybaraza@gmail.com)

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