Zim engages UK officials to resolve driver’s license conversion challenges

By Promise Dube

The Zimbabwean government has said that it is in contact with British officials to resolve the challenges that Zimbabweans who have settled in the UK are facing in converting their driver’s licenses.

A number of care workers and Zimbabwean drivers working in the UK were affected after the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) refused to convert their local Zimbabwean driver’s licenses without producing Certificates of Competency, which were temporary, upon request for conversion to a British License. 

“Zimbabwean immigrants in the UK are facing a challenge. The UK is suddenly refusing to convert their Zimbabwe driver’s licence to a UK licence. Previously immigrants would just apply to the DVLA enclosing their Zimbabwean licence and get a UK licence in a week. But since last month DVLA has been insisting that Zimbabweans produce the Blue Certificate of Competency temporary licence to enable them to convert,” said a Zimbabwean who moved to the UK in an interview with CITE.

The challenge with the new request said the affected Zimbabweans was that the Certificate becomes invalid after six months in Zimbabwe and is not accepted by Zimbabwe authorities as proof of driver’s licence after it expires.

“A lot of care workers who have to drive from client to client providing their services are affected  including Zimbabwean drivers in the UK who had been using their licences temporarily before converting,” said other affected Zimbabweans.

“ The Consulate has just given an excuse without a reason on why they are failing to engage constructively with the DVLA. DVLA is also not blaming the CVR in Zimbabwe for being unreachable to confirm driver details. In the meantime thousands of workers and clients are inconvenienced.”

In response to these concerns, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Theodius Chinyanga confirmed that the government was engaging the UK officials in the DVLA.

“The current system does not have a provision for a duplicate certificate of competency considering that at law is only valid for 30 days.However,the Ministry is in the process of engaging DVLA so that they do not request for a certificate of competency upon request for a conversion of a driver’s licence,” he said.

Chinyanga also acknowledged that there were unconfirmed reports that some Zimbabweans were  using fake metal drivers licenses of  which they ended up causing accidents.

“Most drivers who were tested for class two,did not go through parallel parking and three point turn tests.DVLA has concerns that they have inadequate skills.The Ministry has made a provision that members be tested for class four so that they are certified competent for the required skills in the relevant class,” Chinyanga said.

Some question raised where if drivers submitted an application request for a conversion of any license to DVLA and was initially rejected on the basis that the person should attach a certificate of competency, would it be proper if the driver acquired a similar one not from Vehicle Inspection Department (VID)  because they lost the original.

“ It is not allowed to present fake Certificates of Competency to DVLA or any licensing authority. Applicants risk losing their valid drivers licences. Drivers are requested to follow correct channels of having their licenses converted without engaging in any illicit behaviour,” responded the secretary.

The permanent secretary added that “CVR is in touch with DVLA on a daily basis.The current emails to CVR are, and

Alternatively, concerned citizens are free to approach their respective embassies for assistance, Chinyanga said as he responded to questions on how Zimbabweasn could be assisted if DVLA was failing to contact CVR to verify their licenses.

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