Friday, June 21, 2024

EU countries made over Rs 1,100 crore in rejected visa applications in 2023: Report

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European Union countries raked in 130 million euros, or Rs 1,181 crore, in 2023 through fees from rejected visa applications with African and Asian countries bearing 90% of that cost, according to a report by the EUobserver.

This does not include the money lost by applicants who were unable to travel for business and leisure after their papers were rejected, or bills for legal advice and private agencies that process visa applications.

The report published on Wednesday analysed data compiled by LAGO Collective, an organisation that works on policy-making issues.

The application fee for a Schengen visa, which allows travel in 29 European countries, is non-refundable.

The report showed that the visa rejection rate by European Union countries and the United Kingdom was higher for low- and middle-income countries. It said that African countries were disproportionately affected as the rejection rate for applications from Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria was as high as 40%-50%.

The data compiled by LAGO Collective showed that 20% of tourist visa applications of Indians were rejected by the UK last year.

“Over the past year, the EU has begun to use visa restrictions as a political tool, using Article 25a of its 2019 visa code — a provision which allows it to apply visa restrictions for countries with low rates of migrant returns,” the EUobserver report said.

It said the European Union estimates that nearly half of all irregular migrants within the 27-member bloc come from visa overstays.

“Visa inequality has very tangible consequences and the world’s poorest pay the price,” Marta Foresti, founder of LAGO Collective told EUobserver. “You can think of the costs of rejected visas as ‘reverse remittances’, money flowing from poor to rich countries. We never hear about these costs when discussing aid or migration, it is time to change that.”

The report said that the European Union is likely to make more money from visa rejections this year since the bloc has decided to increase the application fee.

The visa application fee to travel to the European Union will be increased from 80 euros (Rs 7,269) to 90 euros (Rs 8,178) for adults on June 11.

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