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    UK Raises Visa Fees For Students, Tourists

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    The United Kingdom’s government has announced an increase in the cost of student and tourist visas.

    The pay for a student visa has been raised from £127 to £490, according to a statement released by the UK’s Home Office on Friday, while the fee for a visit visa for less than six months has been raised from £15 to £115.

    “The changes mean that the cost for a visit visa for less than six months is rising by £15 (₦14,592.70) to £115 (₦111,878.28 ), while the fee for applying for a student visa from outside the UK will rise by £127 (₦123,537.58) to £490 (₦476,677.59), to equal the amount charged for in-country applications.”

    According to the Home Office, the rises are the result of legislation passed by Parliament on Friday.

    It stated that the fee increase will help the government to pay for essential services and prioritize greater money for the public sector.

    According to the statement, income from fees collected is critical to the Home Office’s ability to administer a sustainable immigration and nationality system.

    The revisions come less than six months after the United Kingdom announced increases in visa application fees and health levies.

    The Home Office also stated that when determining fees, care is taken to minimise the funding contribution from British taxpayers while continuing to provide a service that is appealing to people desiring to work in the UK and supports broader prosperity for all.

    “Today’s changes do not include the planned increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which are scheduled to be introduced later in the Autumn,” the statement added.
    Full statement

    Increases to immigration and nationality fees to pay for vital services and allow more funding to be prioritised for public sector pay rises are set come into effect on 4 October, following legislation being laid in Parliament today (15 September).

    The changes mean that the cost for a visit visa for less than six months is rising by £15 to £115, while the fee for applying for a student visa from outside the UK will rise by £127 to £490, to equal the amount charged for in-country applications.

    In July, the government announced a 15% increase in the cost of most work and visit visas, and an increase of at least 20% in the cost of priority visas, study visas and certificates of sponsorship.

    Income from fees charged plays a vital role in the Home Office’s ability to run a sustainable immigration and nationality system.

    Careful consideration is given when setting fees to help reduce the funding contribution from British taxpayers, whilst continuing to provide a service that remains attractive to those wishing to work in the UK and support broader prosperity for all.

    The changes include:

    Fees for up to 6 months, 2, 5 and 10 year visit visas.
    The majority of fees for entry clearance and certain applications for leave to remain in the UK including those for work and study.
    Fees for indefinite leave to enter and indefinite leave to remain.
    Convention travel document and stateless person’s travel document.
    Health and Care visa.
    Fees in relation to certificates of sponsorship and confirmation of acceptance for studies.
    The in and out of country fee for the super priority service and the out of country fee for the priority service. The settlement priority service will reduce so it is aligned with the cost of using the priority service.
    Applications to Register and Naturalise as a British Citizen.
    The fee for the User Pays Visa Application service.

    Subject to Parliamentary approval, the immigration and nationality fees will increase from 4 October 2023. Today’s changes do not include the planned increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which are scheduled to be introduced later in the Autumn.

    Travels

    Investors and tourists to now get visa to Nigeria within 48 hours – FG

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    A tripartite committee has been constituted by the federal government to review the visa approval process for foreign investors and tourists.

    Minister of information and national orientation, Mohammed Idris, said this was discussed at the just concluded Federal Executive Council meeting.

    Idris said President Bola Tinubu approved the setting up of the committee to accelerate visa processes and acquisition for foreigners interested in investing in Nigeria. He added that reducing the approval time for visas to 48 hours, will attract more investors and tourists into the country.

    The Minister said;

    “Our visa processes are becoming cumbersome…The ease of doing business is also tied to our visa processes. Going forward, those investors, and tourists will find it easy to acquire a visa within the next 48 hours.

    “The new visa processing time will now be ready within 48 hours and will eliminate human contacts. The issue is to ensure that the government fast-track the ease of doing business.”

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    Guinness World Record: Meet The 31-Year-Old Nigerian Man Trying To Tour 54 African Countries Without Using A Plane

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    The 31-year-old, who started his tour from the Red Cross office in Lagos, would tour the continent spending an average of five days in each African state visited without using a plane.

    Ilerioluwa Babalobi, a thirty-one-year-old Nigerian tourist, has kick-started a visit to all 54 African countries to raise awareness for social interventions across the African continent.

    The 31-year-old, who started his tour from the Red Cross office in Lagos, would tour the continent spending an average of five days in each African state visited without using a plane.

    His tour would solely be executed by public transportation marking the first African to undertake such adventure.

    The tour, which he hopes to complete in 9 months, would make the 31-year-old the first African to tour the continent without a plane, using only the public transport system.

    The tourist, who began his adventure over two weeks ago, has visited Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana already where he drew attention to their cultural wealth.

    In a statement he personally signed on Wednesday, May 8, Babalobi said funds raised from the tour would be donated to the Nigerian Red Cross, an NGO that intervenes on various fronts to assist the poor on the continent.

    He said the tour would also promote the Borderless African Campaign advanced by Africa’s rising non-governmental organization.

    According to him, in each country, he would be visiting the tourist sites and interacting with the culture of each country.

    Babalobi’s decision to spend an average of five days in each African country would be to showcase the tourist sites of these locations and amplify the cultural wealth and distinction of these countries.

    He noted that the trip, when completed, would set two Guinness world records by the Nigerian tourist as he would be the first to tour the continent touching each state and doing so without an aircraft.

    Babalobi said he had previously visited each Nigerian state and 16 regions of Ghana as well as over a dozen African countries which has given him a glimpse of how tasking and adventurous the journey would be.

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    Africa: Countdown As Africa’s Travel Indaba Looks Set To Pull Global Tourism Stakeholders To South Africa

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    Africa’s Travel Indaba, one of the largest global tourism trade shows, is set to take place from May 13th to 16th at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC).

    According to a press release by South African Tourism, drawing thousands of participants, including exhibitors from various African nations and buyers worldwide, the event is not only a platform for business transactions but also emphasizes capacity building and knowledge sharing, benefiting all attendees, including smaller and emerging businesses in the industry.

    Deputy Minister of Tourism, Honourable Fish Mahlalela, describes the significance of the event: “This show serves as the premier platform for showcasing Africa’s diverse tourism offerings and experiences. The trade show holds immense significance for the tourism sector and the broader economy. The economic and cultural impact of this trade show is central to the success of our continent.”

    Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 promises unparalleled value for delegates with tailored networking sessions, insights-driven panel discussions, speed marketing sessions showcasing new tourism products, a sophisticated match-making diary system, airline and Tourism Grading Council pavilions, and a wide array of products from across the African tourism sector.

    Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 has already sold-out floor space. The participation of twenty-six African countries, solidifies its status as a proudly Pan African show. Furthermore, 120 SMMEs will be hosted at the Hidden Gems zone in collaboration with the Department of Tourism.

    Preceding the main event is the Business Opportunities Networking Day (BONDay) on May 13th, offering invaluable networking opportunities, thought leadership discussions, and insights into global trends.

    Partners for the event and provincial hosts, KwaZulu-Natal Tourism, have organized pre- and post-tours for selected delegates, including media and buyers, to showcase various experiences and products.

    Mr. Siboniso Duma, MEC Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are excited to welcome Africa’s Travel Indaba back to KwaZulu-Natal again in 2024. Africa’s Travel Indaba plays a significant role in our tourism growth as KwaZulu-Natal and has immeasurable impact on our economy. Again, this year, we will have several emerging tourism entrepreneurs participating as part of the Tourism KZN, Tourism Enterprise Development Programme to afford them an opportunity to showcase their businesses and lock business deals to help them grow in the sector.”

    Commenting on KZN’s readiness to host Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024, Mr. Duma highlighted the province’s accommodation facilities, stating, “The province has adequate accommodation establishments within a reasonable travel distance to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, the venue for the event.”

    eThekwini Municipality Chairperson of Economic Development and Planning Committee, Councillor Thembo Ntuli emphasized the significance of Indaba for Durban, saying, “Indaba is an instrumental platform for the tourism industry which is firmly on the road to recovery. The show has become synonymous with the city of Durban as we have hosted this Africa’s critical tourism showcase over many years. The city’s economy will benefit immensely from hosting this three-day long trade showcase as hotel occupancy is expected to be between 85 to 95 percent. In addition, local tourism products and community tourism organizations are ready and eager to engage with buyers, tour operators, and travel agencies to continue selling Durban as the destination of choice.”

    The 2023 edition witnessed remarkable growth, with a nearly 62% increase in attendance and over 1033 exhibiting companies, attracting 8688 delegates from twenty-two countries and contributed (R 451 546 283) to eThekwini’s GDP and R 597 051 772 to KwaZulu-Natal underscoring the event’s significance.

    Ms. Lindiwe-Rakherebe, Chief Executive Officer of the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre, expresses, “The Durban ICC is thrilled to once again host Africa’s Travel Indaba. This prestigious event plays a vital role in showcasing Africa’s rich and diverse tourism offerings to the world. We are fully committed to ensuring that our venue provides the perfect setting for international buyers and media to connect with the best of Africa’s tourism products. With our state-of-the-art facilities and dedicated staff, we are ready to welcome participants from across the globe and make Africa’s Travel Indaba 2024 a resounding success.”

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