The European Union Commission has adopted proposals to introduce visa measures for passport holders of Senegal and The Gambia as a leverage to push these two countries to cooperate more on the readmission of their nationals who are currently staying illegally in one of the EU countries.
The decision has been taken on November 9, and according to the Commission, the measures are part of the annual assessment on the implementation of readmission with third countries, for which the Commission reports to the Council of the EU, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
While the first assessment was published in February 2021, later in July of the same year, the Commission announced the first visa measures taken against Bangladesh, Iraq and The Gambia, according to which, the citizens of these countries would be subject to tighter visa application procedures.
“The measures mean that all applicants have to submit a full set of documentary evidence and that the 15 calendar days processing period as well as the issuing of multiple entry visas will be suspended. The optional visa fee waiver for holders of diplomatic and service passports should also be suspended,” the Commission had said at the time.
Yet, it had noted that the restrictions did not strip the citizens of these countries from the right to apply for a visa, or to receive one.
After 2014, when the EU dealt with one of the biggest migration waves, its institutions have continuously worked to find new ways to prevent such a thing from happening again, as well as to reduce migration and human smuggling into the EU territory.
In 2019, the Member States had agreed to update the visa code, in order to use it as a leverage in cooperation with third countries on readmission. The mechanism obliges the Commission to assess cooperation on readmission of illegal migrants with third countries in a regular basis.
In cases when a country is not cooperating to take back their citizens staying illegally in the EU, as well as not meeting their part to prevent illegal migration to the EU, the latter can introduce stricter conditions for getting a visa to its territory, for the citizens of the non-cooperating country.
“The Commission will continue its active engagement with these partners to improve cooperation on readmission,” the Commission says in a statement issued on November 10.
Currently, aside from Ukrainian nationals who are granted with Temporary Protection in the block due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the main nationalities seeking asylum in the EU are Syrians and Afghans.