Meekal Hassan

UK visa delays Pakistan rock star

By Alastair Lawson, BBC News

A prominent Pakistani rock musician says a month-long wait for a visa to the UK has ruined a business trip.

Mekaal Hasan told the BBC he had been forced to cancel his air tickets and may have to re-schedule his visit.

BBC correspondents say thousands of people in Pakistan are believed to have been hit by delays in receiving UK visas, with many having to wait weeks.

The UK Border Agency has not commented on claims that this is due to visas now being processed in the Middle East.

But it has confirmed that many Pakistanis’ visa applications to the UK are now being dealt with in Abu Dhabi.

‘Ridiculously priced’

Mr Hasan said he knew of many other people, including some with medical conditions, also facing lengthy waits while their visas were being processed.

He believes increased security measures and the fact that applications are now processed in the United Arab Emirates are the main reason why there have been so many delays.

He says that he was not informed that a process that usually took no more than 15 working days now takes longer than a month.

“Once you submit your papers and passport, along with the visa fee – which is by the way non-refundable and ridiculously priced – there’s normally a 15-working day period after which you are called back to pick up your passport and your visa which you may or may not get,” he said.

“I submitted mine on 29 June, exactly a month ago and there’s still no news. A couple of friends have been waiting for three months now – one of them is a student on a scholarship to an art school in London.”

Mr Hasan said that while his visit to London was “primarily to catch up with friends” he was also due to hold talks with the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London.

“I hope to chalk out plans for a proposed tour in 2010 where my music and band would have featured at the International Guitar Festival due to be held at the Royal Albert Hall. But now all that has been thrown into doubt.”

Mr Hasan says that the delay has also impinged on his plans to visit Europe for meetings with other musicians and family contacts.

“I’ve had to cancel my air tickets and obviously if by some stroke of luck the passport does come in, then I will have to reschedule everything, which means that the people I was hoping to meet may not be free at that point.”

‘Onus on applicants’

A statement on a website linked to the UK Border Service concedes that there is a backlog of settlement visa applications that it is “working hard to reduce” following an office move.

It says that visa applications should only take 25 working days.

“We do not comment on individual cases but all applications are considered on their merits taking into account all the evidence that is submitted in accordance with the UK’s immigration rules,” a spokesperson told the BBC. If you need green card through marriage, then you need to contact immigration attorneys.

“The onus is on applicants to supply the necessary evidence in support of their applications. When applying for a visa it is crucial that people give enough time, prior to travelling, to have their visa processed.”

link: BBC NEWS | South Asia | UK visa delays Pakistan rock star

your comments:


  1. Well my band has also been thru the same problem when we won the GBOB ( Global Battle Of The Bands ) contest and had to go to London to perform for the finals, which would have been a great achievement by a Pakistani band, and same like MHB we too submitted all necessary documents to Febex here in Karachi and we were told that it will take approx 10 ~ 15 working days but to my surprise Fedex didn’t know under which category our visa application should be filed which should that fedex even doesn’t know anything as they didn’t even inform us that our visa applications would be processed in Abu Dhabi and then started the long wait for the passports to come thru but finally we got fed up and I started contacting the British high Commission in Karachi, Islamabad and Abu Dhabi and finally after SEVERAL EMAIL’S AND CALLS to Abu Dhabi I came to know that our visa applications have been lost, which took them even more time and the date we had to perform in London passed by but, thank God, finally we got our passports back after 3 months which was a big blow to me as I travel quite a lot due to my nature of business and I missed out on 2 very big Fairs as well as missed out on 4 very important meetings with my customers in Europe and USA.

    The fact of the matter is that the British high Commission didn’t even care about all this and all the visa fees went down the drain, We are 5 members in my band, and more over all the phone expenses etc. etc. etc. they should have had the decency of issuing our visa’s as we had spoken to the GBOB Head Office in UK that even if we cannot get to perform at the GBOB finals at least we should get to tour around UK at concerts which they organize for the winner’s of the GBOB contest.



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