EUROPEAN Union (EU) officials have warned Nigeria that they may impose restrictive visa implementation rules on Nigerian travellers if the governor fails to play its part in the return and readmission of its nationals staying illegally abroad.
Nigeria has a very large migrant population across Europe and across the community, there are regular raids by the authorities to deport those without legal residency status. However, in many cases, some of these migrants no longer have any ties with Nigeria as they migrated to Europe when they were young and so resettling back into society is a problem.
EU spokesperson on foreign affairs and security policy, Virginie Battu-Henriksson, said that unless the Nigerian government does more to help relocate deportees, the community could make its visas more difficult for Nigerian applicants. She added, however, that the EU would not be looking to impose a visa ban on Nigerians as the US recently did.
Last month, the US imposed an immigrant visa ban on Nigeria and five other countries, saying they constituted a security risk. Under the new policy, citizens of the affected countries would not be allowed to apply for visas to emigrate to the US as part of measures aimed at tightening security
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, Nigeria presents a high terrorist risk, relative to other countries in the world. According to the US authorities, Nigeria did not adequately share public-safety and terrorism-related information, which is necessary for the protection of the national security and public safety.
Ms, Battu-Henriksson said Nigerians still placed among the top 10 nationalities detected as staying irregularly in the EU even though the number of Nigerians travelling irregularly to the community had dropped. She also added that Nigerian criminal networks remained active in the EU.
She 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. Ms, Battu-Henriksson added that what the EU could do if Nigeria failed to meet its criteria was to adapt the rules on processing short-stay visa applications.
“What the EU can do since new rules on short-stay visas to the EU became are applicable on February 2 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. 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,” Ms, Battu-Henriksson added.