Visa ban: US gives Nigeria conditions for review of policy

THE United States (US) government has given the Nigerian government conditions under which the recent visa policy affecting six countries, Nigeria inclusive, could be reviewed.

Mrs Mary-Beth Leonard, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, gave the conditions during a familiarisation visit to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

Leonard said the policy would be reviewed once Nigeria improves its data intelligence, such that it would be easy to investigate any immigrant wishing to visit the United States.

The United States recently announced that it was expanding its curbs on immigration to include six more countries, including Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

The development means that citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan and Myanmar will be blocked from obtaining certain types of visas.

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“I think I need to clarify something for you here, the immigrant visa ban does not affect people who are currently resident in the United States. It does not cancel the status of anyone currently in the United States.

“What Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of States, said was something that was meant to be temporary. And it is about problems with information sharing which are investigable, achievable and resolvable.

“We look forward to Nigeria in a very short while being able to meet those information-sharing goal so that the decision can be reviewed,” she said.

Speaking earlier, Ngige had said the immigrant visa ban by the US was impunity.

Ngige noted that Nigeria has over 70 per cent of professionals who migrated to the US for the betterment of their skills.

“This includes medical doctors, engineers, ICT, among others, who are resident in the US and when the US government gave the ban it came to us as a rude shock that their legal status would be cancelled.

“I will want to say that Nigerian professionals over there are highly qualified to have their visa status residence over there,” he said.

He called on the US government to assist Nigeria to build schools in the areas where child labour is endemic in the country.

“We have done a total of 14,000 labour inspection out of which we detected about 3,900 child labour defaulters and we have empowered them economically and encouraged them to go to school or learn skills,” he added.

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