The European Union aims to tighten up the processes for securing a Schengen visa for Nigerian citizens in the near future, as Nigerian nationals fail to play their part in returning and readmitting their nationals to stay in Europe illegally.
According to EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Virginie Battu-Henriksson, as a result of the non-cooperating government of the country, the EU may implement many measures which will make it harder for Nigerians to obtain a Schengen visa.
“What the EU can do since the new rules on short-stay visas to the EU came into force on 2 February 2020 is to adjust the rules on the processing of short-stay visa applications, depending on whether a non-EU country is complying satisfactorily with the return and readmission of its nationals staying in the EU irregularly,” Battu-Henriksson says, adding that this is by no means a ban on Nigerian nationality.
The new Schengen visa rules mentioned by Battu-Henriksson are derived from the recently updated Schengen Visa Code, which the EU Commission is required to regularly assess the level of non-EU countries ‘ cooperation on the readmission of irregular migrants.
If the level of cooperation is insufficient, the commission, together with the member states, can decide on a more restrictive temporary implementation of certain visa code provisions.
This could affect the processing time, the validity length of the visa to be issued, the level of the visa fee to be charged and the fee waivers.
Speaker Battu-Henriksson also claims that Nigerians are still among the top 10 nationalities detected as irregularly staying in the EU despite the drop in the number of Nigerians traveling irregularly to the EU.
“Nigerians still rate among the top 10 nationalities identified as irregularly remaining on EU territory, while last year the number of Nigerians entering the EU irregularly declined dramatically,” she said.
Statistics from SchengenVisaInfo.com show that 88,587 visa applications were processed by Schengen embassies and consulates in Nigeria in 2018, of which 44,076 were rejected, marking the highest rejection rate of 49.8 per cent for all third countries in need of visas.
As 33,308 of the applications submitted in Nigeria were for Schengen visas to France, followed by Italy with 13,295 and Germany with 10,847 applications, France was the top favorite country for visa applications.
As regards spending, Nigerians spent € 5,315,220 on visa applications to Europe in 2018, of which € 2,644,560 was spent by applicants who had their visas refused.
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