Visa rejections

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Visa rejections

Bodhisattwa Mandal

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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Re: Visa rejections

Leon Liesener
+1, I'm as well shocked to hear of so many unsuccessful visa applications this year.

Regards,
Leon

Am 2017-06-22 um 11:23 schrieb Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]>:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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Re: Visa rejections

cs
In reply to this post by Bodhisattwa Mandal
That’s one of the  reasons why  I  proposed Bangkok, Thailand, for 2019 - apart  from its extremely tolerant  social cultures and very  low cost, while being  a very  modern hi-tech city easily  accessible by  direct  flights from most  parts of the world. Almost  everyone can enter the country  for  at  least  15  days without  even a visa. Thailand only makes it difficult for people wanting to stay longer (years) in the country  on the pretext  of being  tourists.

It’s a shame for the visa refusals, but  perhaps this will open up the possibility to some refused scholarship applications. 

Kudpung.
On 22Jun, 2017, at 16:23, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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Re: Visa rejections

Gnangarra
These issues are a symptom of the closed processes that have occurred firstly with Montreal and next year with middle eastern attendees to Cape Town .  Acknowledging that the change was because of the amount effort put in by unsuccessful bidders was said to be wasted its showing that some things need to be opened for community discussion before decisions are made.  

 That it may be better for the WMF to require applicants to first obtain a visa before being confirmed for the scholarships in the future.  Perth/Australia is another place that visas for attendees wouldnt have been a big issue.    

On 22 June 2017 at 17:43, cs <[hidden email]> wrote:
That’s one of the  reasons why  I  proposed Bangkok, Thailand, for 2019 - apart  from its extremely tolerant  social cultures and very  low cost, while being  a very  modern hi-tech city easily  accessible by  direct  flights from most  parts of the world. Almost  everyone can enter the country  for  at  least  15  days without  even a visa. Thailand only makes it difficult for people wanting to stay longer (years) in the country  on the pretext  of being  tourists.

It’s a shame for the visa refusals, but  perhaps this will open up the possibility to some refused scholarship applications. 

Kudpung.
On 22Jun, 2017, at 16:23, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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Re: Visa rejections

Felix Nartey
This is a big issue and I think should be looked into more seriously. Similar challenges were faced by participants from the Global South selected to attend the CC Summit in Toronto early this year.

This should inform future selection for all conference venues as it allows for poor representation of the Global South at international conferences.

Cheers,



On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:13 AM, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
These issues are a symptom of the closed processes that have occurred firstly with Montreal and next year with middle eastern attendees to Cape Town .  Acknowledging that the change was because of the amount effort put in by unsuccessful bidders was said to be wasted its showing that some things need to be opened for community discussion before decisions are made.  

 That it may be better for the WMF to require applicants to first obtain a visa before being confirmed for the scholarships in the future.  Perth/Australia is another place that visas for attendees wouldnt have been a big issue.    

On 22 June 2017 at 17:43, cs <[hidden email]> wrote:
That’s one of the  reasons why  I  proposed Bangkok, Thailand, for 2019 - apart  from its extremely tolerant  social cultures and very  low cost, while being  a very  modern hi-tech city easily  accessible by  direct  flights from most  parts of the world. Almost  everyone can enter the country  for  at  least  15  days without  even a visa. Thailand only makes it difficult for people wanting to stay longer (years) in the country  on the pretext  of being  tourists.

It’s a shame for the visa refusals, but  perhaps this will open up the possibility to some refused scholarship applications. 

Kudpung.
On 22Jun, 2017, at 16:23, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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Re: Visa rejections

Lodewijk
I wonder, do we keep track of the number of visa rejections year over year, so that we know in comparison?

There are of course many factors that go into venue selection - one of them is visa (another is security, political stability etc). The countries that I remember going relatively smoothly were the ones where the organizers sought a collaboration with the foreign affairs of their country, to get some help. I don't know if Wikimedia Canada was able to accomplish that. But it does mean that a general bad reputation is not necessarily a bad rejection rate for this particular conference. (if memory serves me well, WMIL did a great job in this respect in 2011, for example)

Lodewijk

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 12:48 PM, Felix Nartey <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is a big issue and I think should be looked into more seriously. Similar challenges were faced by participants from the Global South selected to attend the CC Summit in Toronto early this year.

This should inform future selection for all conference venues as it allows for poor representation of the Global South at international conferences.

Cheers,



On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:13 AM, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
These issues are a symptom of the closed processes that have occurred firstly with Montreal and next year with middle eastern attendees to Cape Town .  Acknowledging that the change was because of the amount effort put in by unsuccessful bidders was said to be wasted its showing that some things need to be opened for community discussion before decisions are made.  

 That it may be better for the WMF to require applicants to first obtain a visa before being confirmed for the scholarships in the future.  Perth/Australia is another place that visas for attendees wouldnt have been a big issue.    

On 22 June 2017 at 17:43, cs <[hidden email]> wrote:
That’s one of the  reasons why  I  proposed Bangkok, Thailand, for 2019 - apart  from its extremely tolerant  social cultures and very  low cost, while being  a very  modern hi-tech city easily  accessible by  direct  flights from most  parts of the world. Almost  everyone can enter the country  for  at  least  15  days without  even a visa. Thailand only makes it difficult for people wanting to stay longer (years) in the country  on the pretext  of being  tourists.

It’s a shame for the visa refusals, but  perhaps this will open up the possibility to some refused scholarship applications. 

Kudpung.
On 22Jun, 2017, at 16:23, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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<a href="tel:+233%2024%20284%204987" value="+233242844987" target="_blank">+233242844987 | <a href="tel:+44%207440%20959477" value="+447440959477" target="_blank">+447440959477
Skype:Flixtey

 
 

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Re: Visa rejections

Nkansah Rexford
In reply to this post by Bodhisattwa Mandal
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 

rex

PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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Re: Visa rejections

Stuart Prior
Lodewijk, AFAIK we've never kept track of rejections, but I could find out. My gut feeling is that there hasn't been a massive variation over the past 4 years, I think Mexico City was the most open to everybody (?)

Rexford, possibly (and yeah Wiki = Wikileaks is *always* a problem lol). But some visa systems are very closed and bureaucratic and it's hard to bring any influence or assistance to bear beyond supporting documentation, i.e you can't even talk to a human being about it.

To *truly assist* some of it would involve building political contacts beforehand to advocate for visas (i.e your local representative can help sometimes), that's a possibility but may create other problems, capacity for a start.
The logistics of organising travel/accomm for hundreds of people from hundreds of locations is already onerous, adding an intensive visa support process into that it when some visa systems feel like a lottery would be easy to overpromise and underdeliver. 

What strikes me here is that visas are a problem for people from our developing communities, but they are one of many factors in deciding a Wikimania location. 
One country that might be visa-friendly to one, is prohibitively expensive to get to/stay in for another. 
So while Australia might be relaxed in terms of visas (I'm not confident of this btw) it's also objectively remote/expensive.

Whether a location has achieved that balance is always a question, and I can't think of one Wikimania where everyone's agreed it has ;-)

Stuart 

On 22 June 2017 at 12:12, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 

rex

PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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Re: Visa rejections

Deryck Chan
In reply to this post by Gnangarra
In 2013, a number of Wikimania attendees had their Hong Kong visas stuck in the pipeline at the local Chinese embassies with no response to any enquiry. A month before Wikimania, a local sponsor of Wikimania 2013 (DotAsia) agreed to be guarantor and negotiated directly with the Immigration Department of Hong Kong to secure the visas. The visas were then sent by registered mail to attendees. Much of that work involved me personally going to the Immigration Department headquarters in Hong Kong every working day for several weeks to get the paperwork right. In the end, we saved about a dozen visa applications and only one person was unable to come to Hong Kong due to visa issues.

I'm not sure about the Canadian system, but it is likely that Wikimedia Canada and the Wikimania committee can request the visa-issuing authorities in Canada to review the applications. The first steps would be to check who the relevant authorities are, and to ask all applicants with rejected visa applications to send the Wikimania organisers the details of rejection.

Re GN - Visa processes are usually the reverse of what you suggested. Normally the host organisation issues their invitation, confirms travel and accommodation arrangements, then the applicant goes to the relevant embassy. It is not feasible to apply for a visa before one makes travel arrangements.

Deryck

On 22 June 2017 at 11:13, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
These issues are a symptom of the closed processes that have occurred firstly with Montreal and next year with middle eastern attendees to Cape Town .  Acknowledging that the change was because of the amount effort put in by unsuccessful bidders was said to be wasted its showing that some things need to be opened for community discussion before decisions are made.  

 That it may be better for the WMF to require applicants to first obtain a visa before being confirmed for the scholarships in the future.  Perth/Australia is another place that visas for attendees wouldnt have been a big issue.    

On 22 June 2017 at 17:43, cs <[hidden email]> wrote:
That’s one of the  reasons why  I  proposed Bangkok, Thailand, for 2019 - apart  from its extremely tolerant  social cultures and very  low cost, while being  a very  modern hi-tech city easily  accessible by  direct  flights from most  parts of the world. Almost  everyone can enter the country  for  at  least  15  days without  even a visa. Thailand only makes it difficult for people wanting to stay longer (years) in the country  on the pretext  of being  tourists.

It’s a shame for the visa refusals, but  perhaps this will open up the possibility to some refused scholarship applications. 

Kudpung.
On 22Jun, 2017, at 16:23, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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Re: Visa rejections

Nkansah Rexford
In reply to this post by Stuart Prior
Well, the goal won't be to *influence* or whatnot. That isn't gonna work. The goal is to provide extra details and answer questions that might come up. 

Some systems aren't entirely closed. From the outside, it looks closed, but a closer look reveals there's the option for recognized organizations (keyword is "recognized") to stretch a hand.

Not all embassies in varied countries run the same. But the question is, has there been any attempt (stunt) of that sort pulled off ever?

And after spending a load ton of effort in organizing, if the invitees don't get to come, does that not bring us to where we began?

It ain't an easy or going to be an easy task. However, trying to dodge that also opens the opportunity for rejections easily. 

Of course, it feels like a lottery. However, if there's anything one could do to tip the chances of 'winning' the lottery a bit to the bright side, won't that be a worthwhile effort, no matter how hard?

rex

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Stuart Prior <[hidden email]> wrote:
Lodewijk, AFAIK we've never kept track of rejections, but I could find out. My gut feeling is that there hasn't been a massive variation over the past 4 years, I think Mexico City was the most open to everybody (?)

Rexford, possibly (and yeah Wiki = Wikileaks is *always* a problem lol). But some visa systems are very closed and bureaucratic and it's hard to bring any influence or assistance to bear beyond supporting documentation, i.e you can't even talk to a human being about it.

To *truly assist* some of it would involve building political contacts beforehand to advocate for visas (i.e your local representative can help sometimes), that's a possibility but may create other problems, capacity for a start.
The logistics of organising travel/accomm for hundreds of people from hundreds of locations is already onerous, adding an intensive visa support process into that it when some visa systems feel like a lottery would be easy to overpromise and underdeliver. 

What strikes me here is that visas are a problem for people from our developing communities, but they are one of many factors in deciding a Wikimania location. 
One country that might be visa-friendly to one, is prohibitively expensive to get to/stay in for another. 
So while Australia might be relaxed in terms of visas (I'm not confident of this btw) it's also objectively remote/expensive.

Whether a location has achieved that balance is always a question, and I can't think of one Wikimania where everyone's agreed it has ;-)

Stuart 

On 22 June 2017 at 12:12, Nkansah Rexford <<a href="javascript:_e(%7B%7D,&#39;cvml&#39;,&#39;nkansahrexford@gmail.com&#39;);" target="_blank">nkansahrexford@...> wrote:
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 

rex

PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <<a href="javascript:_e(%7B%7D,&#39;cvml&#39;,&#39;bodhisattwa.rgkmc@gmail.com&#39;);" target="_blank">bodhisattwa.rgkmc@...> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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Re: Visa rejections

Lodewijk
In reply to this post by Stuart Prior


On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 1:24 PM, Stuart Prior <[hidden email]> wrote:
Lodewijk, AFAIK we've never kept track of rejections, but I could find out. My gut feeling is that there hasn't been a massive variation over the past 4 years, I think Mexico City was the most open to everybody (?)

That would be good for perspective - I don't know any better than that there are complaints about scholarship rejections each year. Mexico may indeed have been the 'easiest'. But of course, rejections don't only happen to scholarship recipients, but also to self- or externally funded participants. I can imagine you won't have access to that data unless it's reported, though. 
 

Rexford, possibly (and yeah Wiki = Wikileaks is *always* a problem lol). But some visa systems are very closed and bureaucratic and it's hard to bring any influence or assistance to bear beyond supporting documentation, i.e you can't even talk to a human being about it.

To *truly assist* some of it would involve building political contacts beforehand to advocate for visas (i.e your local representative can help sometimes), that's a possibility but may create other problems, capacity for a start.
The logistics of organising travel/accomm for hundreds of people from hundreds of locations is already onerous, adding an intensive visa support process into that it when some visa systems feel like a lottery would be easy to overpromise and underdeliver. 

What strikes me here is that visas are a problem for people from our developing communities, but they are one of many factors in deciding a Wikimania location. 
One country that might be visa-friendly to one, is prohibitively expensive to get to/stay in for another. 
So while Australia might be relaxed in terms of visas (I'm not confident of this btw) it's also objectively remote/expensive.

Whether a location has achieved that balance is always a question, and I can't think of one Wikimania where everyone's agreed it has ;-)

Stuart 

On 22 June 2017 at 12:12, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 

rex

PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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Re: Visa rejections

Ilario Valdelli-2
In reply to this post by Bodhisattwa Mandal
Esino Lario too. 

There was a plan to transit people through Switzerland like second option using the Maastricht's agreement. As I know this option was not used.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: Stuart Prior <[hidden email]>
Date: 22/06/2017 13:24 (GMT+01:00)
To: "Wikimania general list (open subscription)" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Visa rejections

Lodewijk, AFAIK we've never kept track of rejections, but I could find out. My gut feeling is that there hasn't been a massive variation over the past 4 years, I think Mexico City was the most open to everybody (?)

Rexford, possibly (and yeah Wiki = Wikileaks is *always* a problem lol). But some visa systems are very closed and bureaucratic and it's hard to bring any influence or assistance to bear beyond supporting documentation, i.e you can't even talk to a human being about it.

To *truly assist* some of it would involve building political contacts beforehand to advocate for visas (i.e your local representative can help sometimes), that's a possibility but may create other problems, capacity for a start.
The logistics of organising travel/accomm for hundreds of people from hundreds of locations is already onerous, adding an intensive visa support process into that it when some visa systems feel like a lottery would be easy to overpromise and underdeliver. 

What strikes me here is that visas are a problem for people from our developing communities, but they are one of many factors in deciding a Wikimania location. 
One country that might be visa-friendly to one, is prohibitively expensive to get to/stay in for another. 
So while Australia might be relaxed in terms of visas (I'm not confident of this btw) it's also objectively remote/expensive.

Whether a location has achieved that balance is always a question, and I can't think of one Wikimania where everyone's agreed it has ;-)

Stuart 

On 22 June 2017 at 12:12, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 

rex

PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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Re: Visa rejections

Peter Southwood
In reply to this post by Gnangarra

What problems are expected for middle eastern attendees to Cape Town? What countries passports are expected to have problems?

Cheers,

Peter

 

From: Wikimania-l [mailto:[hidden email]] On Behalf Of Gnangarra
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2017 12:14 PM
To: Wikimania general list (open subscription)
Subject: Re: [Wikimania-l] Visa rejections

 

These issues are a symptom of the closed processes that have occurred firstly with Montreal and next year with middle eastern attendees to Cape Town .  Acknowledging that the change was because of the amount effort put in by unsuccessful bidders was said to be wasted its showing that some things need to be opened for community discussion before decisions are made.  

 

 That it may be better for the WMF to require applicants to first obtain a visa before being confirmed for the scholarships in the future.  Perth/Australia is another place that visas for attendees wouldnt have been a big issue.    

 

On 22 June 2017 at 17:43, cs <[hidden email]> wrote:

That’s one of the  reasons why  I  proposed Bangkok, Thailand, for 2019 - apart  from its extremely tolerant  social cultures and very  low cost, while being  a very  modern hi-tech city easily  accessible by  direct  flights from most  parts of the world. Almost  everyone can enter the country  for  at  least  15  days without  even a visa. Thailand only makes it difficult for people wanting to stay longer (years) in the country  on the pretext  of being  tourists.

 

It’s a shame for the visa refusals, but  perhaps this will open up the possibility to some refused scholarship applications. 

 

Kudpung.

On 22Jun, 2017, at 16:23, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

 

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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Photo Gallery: http://gnangarra.redbubble.com
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Re: Visa rejections

Nkansah Rexford
In reply to this post by Nkansah Rexford
In addition, providing this *true assistance* won't be for *all* attendees. In many cases, only a select few of the total attendees will have the visa-related issues. 

Thus, say out of 100 applicants, just less than 20 individuals might need the assistance beyond the letter at their local embassies. And over and over again, we know these countries that yearly present visa troubles for applicants.

And since it can be relatively easier for individuals with relatively high travel history to get visas, the actual people who might need this dedicated assistance can drop further.

rex

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
Well, the goal won't be to *influence* or whatnot. That isn't gonna work. The goal is to provide extra details and answer questions that might come up. 

Some systems aren't entirely closed. From the outside, it looks closed, but a closer look reveals there's the option for recognized organizations (keyword is "recognized") to stretch a hand.

Not all embassies in varied countries run the same. But the question is, has there been any attempt (stunt) of that sort pulled off ever?

And after spending a load ton of effort in organizing, if the invitees don't get to come, does that not bring us to where we began?

It ain't an easy or going to be an easy task. However, trying to dodge that also opens the opportunity for rejections easily. 

Of course, it feels like a lottery. However, if there's anything one could do to tip the chances of 'winning' the lottery a bit to the bright side, won't that be a worthwhile effort, no matter how hard?

rex

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Stuart Prior <<a href="javascript:_e(%7B%7D,&#39;cvml&#39;,&#39;stuart.prior@wikimedia.org.uk&#39;);" target="_blank">stuart.prior@...> wrote:
Lodewijk, AFAIK we've never kept track of rejections, but I could find out. My gut feeling is that there hasn't been a massive variation over the past 4 years, I think Mexico City was the most open to everybody (?)

Rexford, possibly (and yeah Wiki = Wikileaks is *always* a problem lol). But some visa systems are very closed and bureaucratic and it's hard to bring any influence or assistance to bear beyond supporting documentation, i.e you can't even talk to a human being about it.

To *truly assist* some of it would involve building political contacts beforehand to advocate for visas (i.e your local representative can help sometimes), that's a possibility but may create other problems, capacity for a start.
The logistics of organising travel/accomm for hundreds of people from hundreds of locations is already onerous, adding an intensive visa support process into that it when some visa systems feel like a lottery would be easy to overpromise and underdeliver. 

What strikes me here is that visas are a problem for people from our developing communities, but they are one of many factors in deciding a Wikimania location. 
One country that might be visa-friendly to one, is prohibitively expensive to get to/stay in for another. 
So while Australia might be relaxed in terms of visas (I'm not confident of this btw) it's also objectively remote/expensive.

Whether a location has achieved that balance is always a question, and I can't think of one Wikimania where everyone's agreed it has ;-)

Stuart 

On 22 June 2017 at 12:12, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 

rex

PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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Re: Visa rejections

Ivan Martínez
Following the Stuart's commentary, for Mexico City the low rate of rejection was not for free. I supposed my country was a friendly destination because their history welcoming people from all over the world until I was involved in the visa process for many wikimedians who faced different kind of issues. So I was engaged with WMF's staff to provide any evidence and documents to make fast responses to reduce the chances of rejection. Among the issues we had:

- A really annoying insistence of the consular authorities of Mexico rejecting documents in digital copies. We had to send many hard copies via express mail services
- Consular officers insisted on proving in some way that the Wikimedia Foundation has funds against possible contingencies of the attendees. This was mainly because many of the officials who received the documents did not know anyything about Wikipedia and its fame. I remember me talking on conventional telephone several times from Mexico City to New Delhi to give more information.
- Lack of Mexican embassies in all the attendees countries, so some people needs to travel to other country to the nearest embassy to get visa, so, chances of fail getting documents and doing procedures in other country which is not yours is risky.

In any case, having prior time is the only antidote. Some situations can be solved, but with anticipated time. Rules are rules and in consular proceedings much more no matter the country where the event will held and this is not really attributable to the people who are working supporting the process doing their best.



2017-06-22 9:34 GMT-05:00 Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]>:
In addition, providing this *true assistance* won't be for *all* attendees. In many cases, only a select few of the total attendees will have the visa-related issues. 

Thus, say out of 100 applicants, just less than 20 individuals might need the assistance beyond the letter at their local embassies. And over and over again, we know these countries that yearly present visa troubles for applicants.

And since it can be relatively easier for individuals with relatively high travel history to get visas, the actual people who might need this dedicated assistance can drop further.

rex


On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
Well, the goal won't be to *influence* or whatnot. That isn't gonna work. The goal is to provide extra details and answer questions that might come up. 

Some systems aren't entirely closed. From the outside, it looks closed, but a closer look reveals there's the option for recognized organizations (keyword is "recognized") to stretch a hand.

Not all embassies in varied countries run the same. But the question is, has there been any attempt (stunt) of that sort pulled off ever?

And after spending a load ton of effort in organizing, if the invitees don't get to come, does that not bring us to where we began?

It ain't an easy or going to be an easy task. However, trying to dodge that also opens the opportunity for rejections easily. 

Of course, it feels like a lottery. However, if there's anything one could do to tip the chances of 'winning' the lottery a bit to the bright side, won't that be a worthwhile effort, no matter how hard?

rex

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Stuart Prior <[hidden email]> wrote:
Lodewijk, AFAIK we've never kept track of rejections, but I could find out. My gut feeling is that there hasn't been a massive variation over the past 4 years, I think Mexico City was the most open to everybody (?)

Rexford, possibly (and yeah Wiki = Wikileaks is *always* a problem lol). But some visa systems are very closed and bureaucratic and it's hard to bring any influence or assistance to bear beyond supporting documentation, i.e you can't even talk to a human being about it.

To *truly assist* some of it would involve building political contacts beforehand to advocate for visas (i.e your local representative can help sometimes), that's a possibility but may create other problems, capacity for a start.
The logistics of organising travel/accomm for hundreds of people from hundreds of locations is already onerous, adding an intensive visa support process into that it when some visa systems feel like a lottery would be easy to overpromise and underdeliver. 

What strikes me here is that visas are a problem for people from our developing communities, but they are one of many factors in deciding a Wikimania location. 
One country that might be visa-friendly to one, is prohibitively expensive to get to/stay in for another. 
So while Australia might be relaxed in terms of visas (I'm not confident of this btw) it's also objectively remote/expensive.

Whether a location has achieved that balance is always a question, and I can't think of one Wikimania where everyone's agreed it has ;-)

Stuart 

On 22 June 2017 at 12:12, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 

rex

PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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// Mis comunicaciones respecto a Wikipedia/Wikimedia pueden tener una moratoria en su atención debido a que es un voluntariado.
// Ayuda a proteger a Wikipedia, dona ahora: https://donate.wikimedia.org

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Re: Visa rejections

Ranjith S
My visa is also got rejected. So I am not coming to Canada this year. I think Canada is a bad place for Wikimania due to their strict rules. And thinking that is not a tourist friendly country. 

On 22-Jun-2017 8:59 PM, "Ivan Martínez" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Following the Stuart's commentary, for Mexico City the low rate of rejection was not for free. I supposed my country was a friendly destination because their history welcoming people from all over the world until I was involved in the visa process for many wikimedians who faced different kind of issues. So I was engaged with WMF's staff to provide any evidence and documents to make fast responses to reduce the chances of rejection. Among the issues we had:

- A really annoying insistence of the consular authorities of Mexico rejecting documents in digital copies. We had to send many hard copies via express mail services
- Consular officers insisted on proving in some way that the Wikimedia Foundation has funds against possible contingencies of the attendees. This was mainly because many of the officials who received the documents did not know anyything about Wikipedia and its fame. I remember me talking on conventional telephone several times from Mexico City to New Delhi to give more information.
- Lack of Mexican embassies in all the attendees countries, so some people needs to travel to other country to the nearest embassy to get visa, so, chances of fail getting documents and doing procedures in other country which is not yours is risky.

In any case, having prior time is the only antidote. Some situations can be solved, but with anticipated time. Rules are rules and in consular proceedings much more no matter the country where the event will held and this is not really attributable to the people who are working supporting the process doing their best.



2017-06-22 9:34 GMT-05:00 Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]>:
In addition, providing this *true assistance* won't be for *all* attendees. In many cases, only a select few of the total attendees will have the visa-related issues. 

Thus, say out of 100 applicants, just less than 20 individuals might need the assistance beyond the letter at their local embassies. And over and over again, we know these countries that yearly present visa troubles for applicants.

And since it can be relatively easier for individuals with relatively high travel history to get visas, the actual people who might need this dedicated assistance can drop further.

rex


On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
Well, the goal won't be to *influence* or whatnot. That isn't gonna work. The goal is to provide extra details and answer questions that might come up. 

Some systems aren't entirely closed. From the outside, it looks closed, but a closer look reveals there's the option for recognized organizations (keyword is "recognized") to stretch a hand.

Not all embassies in varied countries run the same. But the question is, has there been any attempt (stunt) of that sort pulled off ever?

And after spending a load ton of effort in organizing, if the invitees don't get to come, does that not bring us to where we began?

It ain't an easy or going to be an easy task. However, trying to dodge that also opens the opportunity for rejections easily. 

Of course, it feels like a lottery. However, if there's anything one could do to tip the chances of 'winning' the lottery a bit to the bright side, won't that be a worthwhile effort, no matter how hard?

rex

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Stuart Prior <[hidden email]> wrote:
Lodewijk, AFAIK we've never kept track of rejections, but I could find out. My gut feeling is that there hasn't been a massive variation over the past 4 years, I think Mexico City was the most open to everybody (?)

Rexford, possibly (and yeah Wiki = Wikileaks is *always* a problem lol). But some visa systems are very closed and bureaucratic and it's hard to bring any influence or assistance to bear beyond supporting documentation, i.e you can't even talk to a human being about it.

To *truly assist* some of it would involve building political contacts beforehand to advocate for visas (i.e your local representative can help sometimes), that's a possibility but may create other problems, capacity for a start.
The logistics of organising travel/accomm for hundreds of people from hundreds of locations is already onerous, adding an intensive visa support process into that it when some visa systems feel like a lottery would be easy to overpromise and underdeliver. 

What strikes me here is that visas are a problem for people from our developing communities, but they are one of many factors in deciding a Wikimania location. 
One country that might be visa-friendly to one, is prohibitively expensive to get to/stay in for another. 
So while Australia might be relaxed in terms of visas (I'm not confident of this btw) it's also objectively remote/expensive.

Whether a location has achieved that balance is always a question, and I can't think of one Wikimania where everyone's agreed it has ;-)

Stuart 

On 22 June 2017 at 12:12, Nkansah Rexford <[hidden email]> wrote:
It is easy to conclude the location hinders visa application acceptance. As much as it appears to be so, I strongly believe if there's good enough Visa support and assistance from the Wikimania Team/WMF, rejected cases could be low.

Obviously, an applicant should have documents intact and good, and submit all the necessary details the embassy wants, including the invitation letter. However, in some countries, that ain't enough.

In 2012, the invitation letter I submitted to the consular at the US embassy here in Ghana, she didn't read, and I could see from her face how nonsense it looked to her. Heck, anybody anywhere could conjure such a sheet of paper with black ink on, any time any day. Plus, the consular had NO idea what Wikimedia was. There was no way I could explain what Wikimedia is in the few seconds I had in front of the teller-like counter. 

Wiki? WikiLeaks? Duh!

As much a mere letter of invitation is formal to some extent, to what extent is the WMF also willing to support visa applications outside just the letter?

Not saying WMF should do exactly same, but I know other organizations that pick up the phone, and call the local embassy of the invitee way ahead of time to initialize conversations and to explain to *what extent* whoever they've invited fits in the about-to-happen event. 

The embassy in many cases, asks questions they won't otherwise ask the applicant, but would, to the inviting organization.

This visa issue, until the WMF *truly assist*, some countries will still struggle getting accepted visa. 

It is not easy, and it ain't something just a letter wipes away. 

rex

PS: I know cases where rejected visa are reconsidered and approved just because the inviting organization literally stepped in, and got serious with the embassy.

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa


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Re: Visa rejections

Jean-Philippe Béland
In reply to this post by Lodewijk
Wikimedia Canada was not the requester behind having Wikimania in Montreal, so it cannot be blamed for that. A "Wikimania Montreal Committee", now defunct, was behind the request to WMF to have Wikimania in Montreal and they did not coordinate with the chapter in doing this. As a chapter, we are picking up some of the slack right now to ensure a smooth conference, but I don't think it is fair to blame the chapter for not doing this.

Jean-Philippe Béland
Vice President, Wikimedia Canada
User:Amqui


On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 6:57 AM, Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:
I wonder, do we keep track of the number of visa rejections year over year, so that we know in comparison?

There are of course many factors that go into venue selection - one of them is visa (another is security, political stability etc). The countries that I remember going relatively smoothly were the ones where the organizers sought a collaboration with the foreign affairs of their country, to get some help. I don't know if Wikimedia Canada was able to accomplish that. But it does mean that a general bad reputation is not necessarily a bad rejection rate for this particular conference. (if memory serves me well, WMIL did a great job in this respect in 2011, for example)

Lodewijk

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 12:48 PM, Felix Nartey <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is a big issue and I think should be looked into more seriously. Similar challenges were faced by participants from the Global South selected to attend the CC Summit in Toronto early this year.

This should inform future selection for all conference venues as it allows for poor representation of the Global South at international conferences.

Cheers,



On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:13 AM, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
These issues are a symptom of the closed processes that have occurred firstly with Montreal and next year with middle eastern attendees to Cape Town .  Acknowledging that the change was because of the amount effort put in by unsuccessful bidders was said to be wasted its showing that some things need to be opened for community discussion before decisions are made.  

 That it may be better for the WMF to require applicants to first obtain a visa before being confirmed for the scholarships in the future.  Perth/Australia is another place that visas for attendees wouldnt have been a big issue.    

On 22 June 2017 at 17:43, cs <[hidden email]> wrote:
That’s one of the  reasons why  I  proposed Bangkok, Thailand, for 2019 - apart  from its extremely tolerant  social cultures and very  low cost, while being  a very  modern hi-tech city easily  accessible by  direct  flights from most  parts of the world. Almost  everyone can enter the country  for  at  least  15  days without  even a visa. Thailand only makes it difficult for people wanting to stay longer (years) in the country  on the pretext  of being  tourists.

It’s a shame for the visa refusals, but  perhaps this will open up the possibility to some refused scholarship applications. 

Kudpung.
On 22Jun, 2017, at 16:23, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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Re: Visa rejections

Lodewijk
Hi Jean-Philippe,

just to be clear: I'm not trying to blame WMCA for anything. 'being able to accomplish that' includes having the expertise and manpower. It would be great if you could help with visa issues, but given the situation, that is just not always possible. 

Lodewijk

On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 4:24 PM, Jean-Philippe Béland <[hidden email]> wrote:
Wikimedia Canada was not the requester behind having Wikimania in Montreal, so it cannot be blamed for that. A "Wikimania Montreal Committee", now defunct, was behind the request to WMF to have Wikimania in Montreal and they did not coordinate with the chapter in doing this. As a chapter, we are picking up some of the slack right now to ensure a smooth conference, but I don't think it is fair to blame the chapter for not doing this.

Jean-Philippe Béland
Vice President, Wikimedia Canada
User:Amqui


On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 6:57 AM, Lodewijk <[hidden email]> wrote:
I wonder, do we keep track of the number of visa rejections year over year, so that we know in comparison?

There are of course many factors that go into venue selection - one of them is visa (another is security, political stability etc). The countries that I remember going relatively smoothly were the ones where the organizers sought a collaboration with the foreign affairs of their country, to get some help. I don't know if Wikimedia Canada was able to accomplish that. But it does mean that a general bad reputation is not necessarily a bad rejection rate for this particular conference. (if memory serves me well, WMIL did a great job in this respect in 2011, for example)

Lodewijk

On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 12:48 PM, Felix Nartey <[hidden email]> wrote:
This is a big issue and I think should be looked into more seriously. Similar challenges were faced by participants from the Global South selected to attend the CC Summit in Toronto early this year.

This should inform future selection for all conference venues as it allows for poor representation of the Global South at international conferences.

Cheers,



On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:13 AM, Gnangarra <[hidden email]> wrote:
These issues are a symptom of the closed processes that have occurred firstly with Montreal and next year with middle eastern attendees to Cape Town .  Acknowledging that the change was because of the amount effort put in by unsuccessful bidders was said to be wasted its showing that some things need to be opened for community discussion before decisions are made.  

 That it may be better for the WMF to require applicants to first obtain a visa before being confirmed for the scholarships in the future.  Perth/Australia is another place that visas for attendees wouldnt have been a big issue.    

On 22 June 2017 at 17:43, cs <[hidden email]> wrote:
That’s one of the  reasons why  I  proposed Bangkok, Thailand, for 2019 - apart  from its extremely tolerant  social cultures and very  low cost, while being  a very  modern hi-tech city easily  accessible by  direct  flights from most  parts of the world. Almost  everyone can enter the country  for  at  least  15  days without  even a visa. Thailand only makes it difficult for people wanting to stay longer (years) in the country  on the pretext  of being  tourists.

It’s a shame for the visa refusals, but  perhaps this will open up the possibility to some refused scholarship applications. 

Kudpung.
On 22Jun, 2017, at 16:23, Bodhisattwa Mandal <[hidden email]> wrote:

Hi,

The main topic of discussion among the scholarship recipients from global south this month is the high visa rejection rate by Canadian embassies from these countries.

This year, we had 7 scholarship recipients from Bengali community, 4 from India and 3 from Bangladesh. Already 3 out of 4 scholarship recipients from Indian part of the communities got their visa rejected, others are waiting. Although I am hoping for the best for all the scholarship recipients, but may be news of more rejections are coming soon.

Wikimania should be organised in a visa friendly country, and not in those countries where global south citizens are not allowed to enter even for a 6-days conference. Otherwise, a global community is not truly presented.

Best wishes,
Bodhisattwa

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Re: Visa rejections

jayanta nath-2
Hi,

I don't understand that how WMCA directed by WMF about the VISA invitation? In visa application, there must have an invitation for Canada, otherwise it would reject. We are applying Visa to Canada, but invitation comes from USA. This is a foolish decision made by WMF.  As per my knowledge in every year, every visa applicant for Wikimania, got their invitation from hosting countries. 

Regards,
Jayanta

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Re: Visa rejections

Lodewijk
Hi Jayanta,

please be careful to make judgement calls without knowing all the facts. 

Lodewijk

On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 7:07 PM, Jayanta Nath <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

I don't understand that how WMCA directed by WMF about the VISA invitation? In visa application, there must have an invitation for Canada, otherwise it would reject. We are applying Visa to Canada, but invitation comes from USA. This is a foolish decision made by WMF.  As per my knowledge in every year, every visa applicant for Wikimania, got their invitation from hosting countries. 

Regards,
Jayanta

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