High Schengen Visa Rejection Rates for Africans Raise Concerns

High Schengen visa rejection rates for Africans and visa denials for Nigerian youth football team raise concerns about fairness and transparency of the application process, impacting cultural exchange, business, and sports development.

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Rizwan Shah
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High Schengen Visa Rejection Rates for Africans Raise Concerns

High Schengen Visa Rejection Rates for Africans Raise Concerns

Recent reports have highlighted the disproportionately high rejection rates for Schengen visa applications from African countries. According to the data, 70% of the top 10 countries with the highest visa rejection rates into the Schengen region of Europe are African nations.

The five African countries with the highest Schengen visa rejection rates are Eritrea (75.9%), Mauritania (68.9%), Gambia (61.8%), Burkina Faso (55.8%), and Guinea (40.6%). Mali also has a rejection rate of 39.9%. These high rejection rates have had a significant impact on African entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as contributing to a sense of isolation for Africans denied entry into Europe.

Anne Sophie Avé, the former French Ambassador to Ghana, has warned against applying for Schengen visas through middlemen. She stated that those who pay middlemen to apply for a France Schengen visa on their behalf will have their visa denied and risk being banned from entering all Schengen member states. Avé called on everyone to report middlemen who ask for money to secure appointments, labeling them as "crooks" who will result in a 100% visa denial and possible ban.

Avé stressed that the visa application process is simple and can be completed for less than €100 if applicants are honest and provide genuine documents. She also noted that sometimes middlemen pretend to be embassy staff, which applicants should not believe. Applicants who have previously used middlemen are now labeled as fraudulent in the system, making it likely they will always be denied.

The article also discusses the increase in undocumented migration to the European Union through various routes in the first quarter of 2024. The Western African route saw a 510% increase in March, with the top nationalities being from Mali, Senegal, and Mauritania. Criminal groups in Mauritania have been smuggling more migrants on dangerous Cayuco boats to the Canary Islands.

In a separate incident, the Nigeria U-15 football team, known as the Future Eagles, has been denied visas by the Spanish Embassy to participate in the UEFA U-16 Development Tournament starting on Friday. The players and officials were supposed to travel to Spain on Tuesday but were unable to do so due to the visa denials. The reason for the visa refusal has not been stated by the Spanish authorities.

Why this matters: The high Schengen visa rejection rates for Africans and the denial of visas for the Nigerian youth football team highlight the ongoing challenges and barriers faced by Africans in accessing opportunities in Europe. These incidents raise questions about the fairness and transparency of the visa application process and the potential impact on cultural exchange, business, and sports development between Africa and Europe.

The global number of Schengen visa applications declined by nearly 54.7% between 2014 and 2022. The Central Mediterranean route, historically the most active, saw a 59% drop in irregular border crossings compared to the same period in 2023. The Western Balkan route also experienced a 64% decrease. The UEFA Under-16 Youth Development Tournament is an event organized by Europe's football governing body to expose elite junior players to international football and ease their transition into senior levels of the sport.

Key Takeaways

  • African countries have high Schengen visa rejection rates, up to 75.9%.
  • Applying through middlemen leads to 100% visa denial and possible ban.
  • Undocumented migration to EU via Western Africa route increased 510% in March.
  • Nigerian youth football team denied visas to UEFA U-16 tournament in Spain.
  • Schengen visa applications declined 54.7% from 2014 to 2022, routes saw drops.