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General News of Monday, 21 July 2014

Source: The Finder

46,245 Foreigners live in Ghana

...-977 granted indefinite permits

In spite of the challenges facing the Ghanaian economy in recent years, over 40,000 foreigners received residence permits in 2013.

They are from countries such as Britain, Germany, India, China, Japan, United States of America, Lebanon, Canada, Holland and Spain.

Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) data shows that 136,471 permits of various categories were issued by the Service in 2013, compared to 127,064 in 2012.

Out of the 2013 figure, 46,245 were granted residence permits as against 40,633 in 2012, an increase of 6.9%.

With regard to employment, 5,917 foreigners were issued with work permits as against 7,580 in 2012.

According to the data, 5,987 Re-Entry Visas were issued in 2013 while 4,305 were issued in 2012.

The data indicates that in 2012, 33,817 Extension of Visitors’ Permits were issued as against 33,817 in 2012.

For Emergency Entry Visas, including transit visas, 40,466 were issued in 2013 compared to 45,138 the previous year.

A total of 2,475 Immigrant Quota for Free zones were issued last year compared 2,641 in 2012.

Diplomatic permits for last year were 1,564 as against 1,509 in 2012.

The data revealed that residence permits continue to record the highest figure in all permits issued by the Service, both in 2012 and 2013.

Head of Public Affairs of the GIS, Assistant Comptroller of Immigration (ACOI) Francis Palmdeti, explained that the year 2013 recorded a marginal increase of 5,612, representing 13.81% increase over the 2012 figure.

He said the increase was as a result of realigning working processes to ensure that legitimate applications are speedily processed.

He noted that Emergency Entry Visa recorded a decrease of 4,672 over last year’s figure, representing 11.55% decrease over the 2012 figure.

According to him, the decrease was occasioned as a result of the strict visa processing regime adopted in 2013 and which resulted in part to a high-refusal rate of applications from persons of particular nationalities whose activities at the time were considered to be of security concern to the nation.

The reductions in Work Permit granted in the year under review could also be attributed to the same operational action.

ACOI Palmdeti disclosed that 977 foreigners have been issued with indefinite residence permit between 2004 and 2013.

They are 137 Indians, 131 British, 113 Lebanese, 68 Germans and 64 Americans, among others.

He explained that under the law, indefinite residence permit is issued to foreigners who have stayed in Ghana for a long time and are contributing to the development of the country.

In addition, foreigners married to Ghanaians and are resident here qualify for indefinite residence permit.