News on a visa waiver policy signed between Ghana and Malta is fast spreading on the internet and some Ghanaians have started celebrating with hope of visiting the European Union country.
Jetsanza.com has received loads of emails verifying these reports and one reader asked: “I have a passport picture, what else do I need to do?”
As part of President Akufo Addo’s visit to Malta, several agreements including a visa-waiver policy have been signed. Media outlets reported that Ghanaian passport holders will no longer need visas to travel to Malta.
Further checks by Jetsanza.com indicate that the policy applies to only Diplomatic passport holders (Jetsanza.com however cannot confidently report but Starrfmonline reports same).
Why it’s impossible
Malta is a member of the European Union and the Schengen States. Being a member of the Schengen States means having your borders opened to travelers arriving from all the 26-member states. Allowing Ghanaians to travel to Malta without visas would allow travelers access to all the 26 countries in the Schengen area. This makes it impossible for Malta to sign such agreement with Ghana as it will put other member states at risk as they are not prepared to receive Ghanaians on a visa-free policy.
Also as a member of the Schengen States, Malta cannot independently sign a visa agreement with other countries because member countries are bonded by the Schengen Agreement and are to conform to a uniform visa policy by member states. So the whole of the Schengen States have to come together and approve a visa-free policy for Ghanaian passport holders, and not just a single country signing on their behalf.
Malta is the major transit point for illegal immigrants from African who wish to find themselves in Europe. The country is already dealing with loads of asylum cases and opening their borders freely to Ghanaian passport holders will only mean providing a safer way for illegal immigrants to travel to Europe, something that makes it impossible for Malta to think of allowing Ghanaian passport holders enter the country without visas.
What’s in for Ghanaians?
Though Ghanaians will still require visas to visit Malta, the country’s national carrier flying to Ghana may force the country to issue more visas to visa applicants to use their airline. Other than that, Air Malta will always have to fly empty to Malta or carry the few passengers transiting to other European countries.
A new airline in Ghana means jobs for Ghanaians in the travel sector.