UK, Schengen states make millions from denied visas – World

LONDON: The UK and Schengen countries have collected millions of pounds and euros in fees following the refusal of Pakistan’s visa applications, according to a new study published this month.

Analysis published by Lago Collective, a community of researchers, policymakers and designers, shows that Pakistanis spent £5.3 million on rejected UK visa applications, with almost 40% of rejected applications coming from of Pakistan in 2023.

The same year, around 50% of Pakistan’s Schengen visas were also rejected, with €3.344 million spent on applications.

The data was published in conjunction with EUobserver, which reported that EU governments were taking in €130 million a year in fees from rejected visa applications, dubbed “reverse fund transfers.”

The data shows that Pakistanis spent £5.3 million on the UK and €3.344 million on unsuccessful European visa applications.

The analysis by Marta Foresti and Otho Mantegazza of Lago Collective showed that the cost of Schengen visa refusals in 2023 amounted to 130 million euros.

“Visa inequality has very real consequences and the world’s poorest are paying the price. You can think of the costs of rejected visas as ‘reverse remittances,’ money flowing from poor countries to rich countries,” Foresti said in a statement to Dawn. “We never hear about these costs when we talk about aid or migration, it’s time to change that.

“The rejection rate for short-term visa applications from Pakistan is very high, around 40% for Schengen countries and the UK, resulting in very significant costs for everyone involved. This is surprising given the multiple links between Pakistan, Europe and the UK.

“Yet the difficulties faced by Pakistani nationals in reaching Europe by legal means became tragically evident a year ago when hundreds of people died when the Greek boat capsized. People have no choice but to resort to dangerous travel,” Foresti added. Foresti is the founder of Lago Collective and Visiting Principal Investigator, ODI.

The EUobserver report says the total sum is likely to increase in 2024 as visa application fees for traveling to the EU will increase from 80 to 90 for adults on June 11. It also says the UK collected £44 million in rejected charges, which are not charges. -refundable regardless of the result. African and Asian countries bear 90% of the costs associated with rejected Schengen visas.

Writing on the LSE blogs last year, Foresti noted: “Visa regimes are neither equal nor reciprocal. An Italian national can obtain a Sierra Leone visa on arrival for £30. A Sierra Leonean wishing to travel to Italy for a business meeting must undertake two separate trips to the Italian consulate in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, over several weeks, at exorbitant costs.

The analysis shows that the visa application fee for short-term Schengen visas is £80 and for the UK equivalent, £100. For UK visa applications, countries with high rejection rates include Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria, resulting in high costs (£5.8m, £5.3m sterling, £2.3 million and £3.6 million, respectively).

Visa application fees are increasing, to 90 for Schengen/Europe and £120 for the UK. This will lead to a significant increase in the number of visa refusals in 2024, further exacerbated by the focus on tightening migration in many European countries where elections are taking place.

In a statement, Lago said: “These costs are just the tip of the iceberg: in most cases, applicants pay more than the basic fee, with private agencies involved in processing visa applications and brokers providing additional services along the way. The costs of not being able to travel for business or leisure also result in significant losses for everyone involved.”

Published in Dawn, June 11, 2024