Thursday, August 5

EU Presses Gambia to Bend on Deportations, Activates Short Stay Visa Restrictions

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To punish The Gambia for its perceived lack of collaboration on the European Union’s policy of expulsion of migrants, the EU has decided to restrict the conditions for granting short-stay visas to at least six months to visa applicants with a Gambian nationality.

The restriction is said to be “temporary,” pending The Gambia’s compliance with European deportations of her undesired citizens in the Eu space.

The EU diplomatic shot is a pressure by the European Union on the authorities of The Gambia to accept and facilitate the deportation of the undesired Gambian migrants characterized as such in EU member countries.

The European Commission has concluded that The Gambia’s cooperation with the EU on deportation matters is insufficient. Henceforth, the Commission recommended that further action is needed, considering the steps taken so far by the Commission to improve the level of cooperation and the overall relations with The Gambia.

The restrictive measures cover certain procedural aspects for issuing short-stay visas, specifically:

  • Suspension of waiver of certain supporting documents for certain categories of applicants (e.g. bona fide travelers);
  • Suspension of an optional visa fee waiver for holders of diplomatic passports;
  • Suspension of the maximum processing time (beyond 15 days);
  • Suspension of the mandatory issuance of multiple-entry visas with long validity.

The measures do not apply to visa applicants who are family members of EU citizens or other beneficiaries of free movement in the EU.

The Gambia is in the same spot as Iraq and Bangladesh.

But The Gambia is not the lone target of the Europeans for being reclusive in accepting deportations.

Iraq and Bangladesh are the two other countries flagged on the temporary restrictions on short-stay visas for their nationals.

From all indications, this is the first time that Brussels has put this initiative into practice since the EU amended its visa code to link its deportations policy to the level of cooperation in matters of migration from countries of origin and transit of irregular routes.

On the 15th of July, the European Commission proposed the restrictive visa measures to the Council for adoption.

Under the revised Visa Code in force since February 2020, the EU’s short-stay visa policy is linked to cooperation with partner countries on repatriating their nationals who do not have the right to stay in the EU.

According to the European Union’s Commission, “Fostering cooperation is an important element” of the repatriation policy with countries like The Gambia.

The Commission is of the view that the “EU needs to mobilize all available tools, including development cooperation, trade or visa,” according to a statement by the EU Commission.

If The Gambia complies by accepting deportees from the EU member countries, an “Improved and sustained cooperation could also potentially open the path to more favorable visa measures.

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