US Ambassador-Designate to Address Declining Rate of Visa Issuance

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United States Ambassador-designate to Jamaica, Pamela Bridgewater has given the assurance that when she assumes her post as Ambassador, she will take steps to address the declining approval rate of visa issuance to Jamaican nationals.

Ambassador Bridgewater gave this undertaking to Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, who raised the concern while in discussions during a courtesy call on Ambassador Marks at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington DC on Tuesday, August 24.

The Ambassador-designate said, "I will meet with the Consular team at the US Embassy in Jamaica along with my Consular team very early after my arrival to see how this issue can be addressed to the satisfaction of both countries."

Ambassador Marks highlighted the declining approval rates for the issuance of visas to Jamaican nationals as an area which needed continued review. She mentioned that Trinidad and Tobago for example enjoyed a visitor's visa approval rate nearly three times as high as Jamaica's.

She indicated that she had had discussions with relevant officials in the Department of State, where she had raised the worrying trend of the declining approvals.

It was explained that the US looks at a variety of factors, including the economy of the sending country as well as the state of the US economy. However, Ambassador Marks said she had been promised a review for Jamaica.

In this context, Ambassador Marks pointed to the positive economic indicators in Jamaica, which showed that economic fundamentals were going in the right direction.

She requested Ambassador Bridgewater's support of continuous reviews to increase the approval ratio. In responding, the Ambassador-designate stated that she believed that the positive economic developments in Jamaica will augur well for a review of the visa regime.

Ambassador Bridgewater who will take up her post in Jamaica shortly was accompanied by Desk Officer in the Department of State, Mr. Robert Piehel. Also present was Minister-Counsellor in the Jamaican Embassy, Mr. Franz Hall.

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