The European Union is planning to tighten procedures for Nigerians to get a Schengen visa in response to the country failing to take back Nigerians staying illegally in Europe.
The EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Virginie Battu-Henriksson, said, “What the EU can do since new rules on short-stay visas to the EU became applicable on 2 February 2020, is to adapt the rules on processing short-stay visa applications, depending on whether a non-EU country cooperates satisfactorily on the return and readmission of their nationals staying irregularly in the EU.”
Battu-Henriksson says the new measures do not constitute a ban on Nigerian nationals similar to the one the US President Donald Trump introduced lately on Nigeria.
The new rules come from recently updated Schengen visa code.
The EU uses the code to assess the level of cooperation of non-EU countries in readmitting irregular migrants. If the level of cooperation is insufficient, the EU could decide temporary more restrictive implementation of certain provisions of the visa code.
The restrictions could impact visa processing time, length of validity of visa to be issued, visa fee to be charged and fee waivers. “Nigerians still place among the top 10 nationalities detected as staying irregularly on the EU territory, although the number of Nigerians entering the EU irregularly declined drastically last year,” claims Spokesperson Battu-Henriksson.
Statistics by SchengenVisaInfo.com show that in 2018, Schengen embassies and consulates in Nigeria processed 88,587 visa applications. Some 44,076 were rejected thus marking the highest rejection rate of 49.8% among all third-world countries in need of visas.
France was the top favourite country for visa submission, 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. In 2018, Nigerians spent €5,315,220 in visa applications to Europe. A total €2,644,560 was spent by applicants who had their visas rejected.