The European Union has announced that it might have to impose travel restrictions on Nigerians who want to visit Europe. EU Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Virginie Battu-Henriksson says the EU could make its visas more difficult for Nigerian applicants if the country fails to meet its standards.
The EU spokesperson 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.
“Under the new rules, the EU Commission will 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. It is important to note that this mechanism does not amount to a visa ban and does not call into question the right to submit an application for a visa or to be granted a visa. It only allows for a more restrictive implementation of some of the visa rules. This concerns short-stay visas to the Schengen area, covering stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period.”
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. Battu-Henriksson lamented that Nigerian criminal networks remain active in Europe, and the country remains the main non-EU country of origin for victims of trafficking (mainly women) registered in the EU.