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EU Declares Nigerians Among Top 10 Illegal Immigrants In Europe

The European Union says it can impose restrictive visa implementation rules on Nigeria if it fails to play its part in the return and readmission of its nationals staying illegally in the EU.

Although it would not place a visa ban on Nigeria, it could make its visas more difficult for Nigerian applicants if Nigeria failed to meet its standards. Recall that the United States had last month imposed an immigrant visa ban on Nigeria and five other countries.

Under the new policy, citizens of the affected countries would not be allowed to apply for visas to emigrate to the US under the policy aimed at tightening “security for countries that don’t comply with the US minimum security standards or cooperate to prevent illegal immigration.”

The Department of Homeland Security says Nigeria presents a high risk, relative to other countries in the world, of terrorist travel to the US.

The US further stated that Nigeria did not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information, which is necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety of the US.

The Federal Government set up a committee headed by the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, to ensure that Nigeria meets requirements the US said were not in place.

The EU spokesperson said, “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.

“Nigerian criminal networks remain active in Europe, and Nigeria remains the main non-EU country of origin for victims of trafficking (mainly women) registered in the EU.”

When asked if the EU would be giving Nigeria the “American treatment”, she said Nigeria could face a restriction if certain criteria were not met.

Battu-Henriksson stated that if Nigeria did not play its part in the readmission of its citizens living illegally in the EU, then strict measures could be put in place.

The EU spokesperson stated, “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.

“It is in our common interest to work on dissuading migrants to take dangerous irregular routes to Europe and risk exploitation. Returns and readmission are part of working on this common endeavor,” she said.

 

 

 

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