Immigration to run COVID-19 tests for work permit applicants

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) will from August 11 this year introduce a mandatory COVID-19 test for all non-Ghanaians applying for work permit, renewal of work permit and extension of visitor’s permit.

This test will run concurrent with the normal medical examination required for immigration permits at the GIS clinic.

A statement signed by the Head of Public Affairs of the GIS, Supt Michael Amoako-Atta, explained that the emergence of an apparent third wave of COVID-19 infections across the world had made it imperative that the GIS — as a frontline security agency controlling the borders and regulating the activities of foreigners in the country — put in measures to support the national effort to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.

No test, no service

The statement also indicated that the test would be conducted at a facility on the premises of the GIS headquarters to run jointly by the GIS medical team and a service provider, V-Check Health Solutions, for GH¢150.

It explained that the new directive was geared towards the national effort in ensuring that the spread of the virus was controlled to ensure public health safety and stressed that all the GHS COVID-19 protocols would apply to all positive cases.

Supt Amoako-Atta urged members of the expatriate community and companies employing non-Ghanaians to take note of the new measure.

He said the new arrangement also formed part of the GIS’s vision of delivering excellence in security and migration management to ensure an enhanced congenial public health safety.

“What the GIS is doing is to complement the efforts by the task force to curb the spread of the infection. While we acknowledge that there is a test regime in place for all arriving travellers at the Kotoka International Airport, we are using this as a backup to help pick up any positive case that may have slipped through.

“The objective is to ensure that no-one poses as a threat, and in going about their activities, there is no conduit to spread the infection unknowingly.

“That forms part of our vision to ensure that we deliver an enhanced congenial public health safety,” Mr Amoako-Atta emphasised.

Frontline service

The GIS has played a key role in the fight against COVID-19 since Ghana recorded its first case in March 2020.

Apart from protecting the borders of the country to prevent illegal entry since they were closed by a presidential directive in 2020, officials of the GIS had been key in the contact-tracing exercise.