More than half of all visa applications are refused, according to data from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The Office of Refugees International (ORI) says the situation has worsened since the end of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, when nearly a quarter of all visas were denied.
“The number of applications has decreased significantly since 2003,” said Maria Oquendo, ORI’s director of immigration.
“In 2016, more than 2.7 million people were admitted to the United States, the highest annual rate of admission since 1980.
In 2019, this number has risen to 3.5 million, the third highest level since 1980.”
The trend has continued since then.
In 2018, the US Department of Homeland Security said it was planning to waive all visa restrictions in response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
This year, the agency announced it would waive restrictions on the US and Canada, but that it would also “ensure that all applications for entry into the United Kingdom are processed expeditiously”.
“There is no justification for the number of visas being denied by the US, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries,” ORI director Oquenda said.
“We know from previous experience that visa restrictions can have serious and sometimes catastrophic consequences for the people and communities who live and work in these countries.”
The latest data on the refugee crisis comes from the UN High Commissioner’s office, which has tracked the situation for almost two years.
The UNHCR data shows that the majority of the denied visas are to countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
“There are a number of reasons why people are being denied,” said Omar Nabil, a UNHCR official in Islamabad.
“It’s a humanitarian issue.
They can’t come because they don’t have enough money, they don