The European Union is planning to soon tighten the procedures for getting a Schengen Visa for the nationals of Nigeria, as the latter is failing to play its part in the return and readmission of its nationals staying illegally in Europe.
According to the EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Virginie Battu-Henriksson, the EU may introduce several measures that will make it more difficult for Nigerians to get a Schengen visa, as a result of the country’s non-cooperating government.
“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 explains while adding that this is by no way a ban on Nigerian nationals, like the one the US President Donald Trump introduced lately on Nigeria.
The new rules on Schengen visas that Battu-Henriksson mentions derive from the recently updated Schengen Visa code, which the EU Commission to regularly assess the level of cooperation of non-EU countries on the readmission of irregular migrants.
If the level of cooperation is insufficient, the commission, together with member states, can decide on a temporary more restrictive implementation of certain provisions of the visa code.
This could have an impact on the processing time, the length of validity of the visa to be issued, the level of the visa fee to be charged and the fee waivers.
Spokesperson Battu-Henriksson also claims that Nigerians are still among the top 10 nationalities detected as staying irregularly in the EU although the number of Nigerians travelling irregularly to the EU had dropped.
“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,” she said.
Statistics show that in 2018, Schengen embassies and consulates in Nigeria processed 88,587 visa applications, 44,076 of which were rejected thus marking the highest rejection rate of 49.8% among all third-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 terms of expenditures, in 2018, Nigerians spent €5,315,220 in visa applications to Europe, €2,644,560 of which money was spent by applicants who had their visas rejected.