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Nairobi UK visa application centre relocates to Westlands

Tuesday July 1 2014

9 West

A file photo of the 9 West building in Westlands, Nairobi, where the UK visa office is. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

NEVILLE OTUKI
By NEVILLE OTUKI
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Britain has transferred its offices for visa application from Nairobi’s Upper Hill area to Westlands.

The UK visa application centre will conduct its functions at the 9 West building starting Tuesday.

“Our new offices will help deliver improved customer services, with access to a premium lounge and additional priority services,” reads a press statement.

Like the Upper Hill offices, the new office will process visas for nationals from Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC Congo and South Sudan who seek to travel to the UK.

Applications are completed online. (READ: Online visa application mandatory: UK)

The development, however, comes at a time when relations between Kenya and Britain have grown tepid in recent months after the latter issued travel advisories restricting the movements of Britons in Kenya.

EVACUATION ANGERED KENYANS

Hundreds of British tourists were last month evacuated from Mombasa on security concerns, a move that angered Kenyan officials.

Britain has enlisted the services of London-based technology firm VFS Global, which works together with the UK Border Agency in preparing visas.

A number of Kenyan workers have travelled overseas to the UK in search of greener pastures in the European nation.

Local students have also over the years sought to advance their education in Britain’s universities with the hope of securing better deals after graduating.

The UK boasts top learning institutions, such as Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Business and Finance.

Degrees from these institutions are seen as direct tickets to plum job positions, a situation that has attracted a number of learners.

Data from the British High Commission in Nairobi shows that the number of Kenyan students enrolling in the UK universities stood at 1,125 in 2012.

This article first appeared in the Business Daily.