• Amman

  • Saturday, March 16, 2024 at 6:05:21 PM
    Last Update : Tuesday, March 19, 2024 at 6:11 AM

Jordanians Have Mixed Opinions Over New UK Electronic Visa

(AWP) - Jordanians had mixed opinions about Britain’s decision to include them in the United Kingdom’s new electronic visa system, which went into effect in February.

The practical uses for the visa are not clear for many Jordanians, as some believe they can go beyond a simple visit to emigrate to Britain, hunt for jobs, or stay there by other means.
Ibrahim al-Najjar, a Jordanian citizen, believes that the visa is not a worthy goal per se, considering that getting the visa is only the first step for young people who have ambitions to search for work in the UK.

“It is a failure visa. People here think that as long as the visa is cheap, they can try Britain, but the problem is, they will travel with no work, knowing no one in Britain,” said Najjar.

“This means they are flying for nothing, only because the visa costs 20 dinars [roughly £22]. The whole thing is a failure,” he added.

Firas Jamil acknowledged that the visa offers a good chance for tourism, thanks to its low cost, but said that some Jordanians might seize the opportunity to stay in Britain for as long as possible, and to search for a job there.

“I might go to nice places abroad, but how can I get the necessary money to spend? My salary is 189 dinars. I might travel there for only 10 dinars, but what can I spend there? I mean for a nice, long trip,” he said.

“It is a constructive step, but one can only go when they have enough money. Later on, they might think of finding a job there, but the opportunities are limited. I hope everything turns out well, but wish more people were aware,” he noted.

Ibrahim Hanoun believes that easing the procedures to obtain a visa for Britain could be the beginning of a trend of letting more manpower into Europe, as the birth rate decreases there.

“It could serve as a step towards opportunities for Jordanian labor in Britain, apart from tourism of course. People traveling to Britain would pay fees and costs, and this would improve the British economy, but at the same time could damage the Jordanian economy. As citizens, we need to examine the matter thoroughly before we start an exodus from Jordan,” stressed Hanoun.

Mostafa Bani Mostafa, a ticket reservation officer at a travel agency, said that the new procedures are easy compared to past visa requirements, such as documents to prove employment, income, guarantees and reservations.

He said that turnout for the United Kingdom visa had been massive, thanks to the low cost.

“There was a massive turnout to apply for the electronic visa to the United Kingdom, because the procedures are simple. There are no longer any complicated documents required. It is also a chance to travel to Europe with a low-cost visa. However, the major problem now is flight tickets—rates have become very high,” said Mostafa.

Maysa’ Youssef, a Jordanian woman who runs a travel agent in Amman, said that one of the advantages of the new visa is that it offers a chance to get to know different cultures, traditions and habits in Europe.

“There is only the problem of high prices of flights. We began making offers on the tickets as of Thursday, but there are no options to travel so far. Not all reservations are for key airports like Heathrow,” she added.

“This is the problem: I have a friend who has lived in Britain for years, and she told me that the cost of living there is exorbitant. Hotels, food and other things are expensive. It is not just about obtaining a visa. The situation is unclear. No one has gone there and returned to tell us about the pros and cons,” explained Youssef.

The British government website announced simplified procedures and reduced costs for visa applications for citizens of Jordan and the Gulf states, as compared to past procedures.

A recent study by the Barometer Center for Social Studies in the Arab World placed Jordanians at the top of the list of Arab nationalities thinking of migration. Results showed that 48% of them wish to migrate to the United States or Europe, to flee tough economic conditions and to search for a better life and career.