Some MPs argued the challenges and complications to obtain a Schengen visa are affecting Moroccans' dignity.
Rabat – Moroccan MPs at the House of Counselors have addressed the challenges that Moroccans experience while completing the process to obtain a Schengen visa.
On Tuesday, January 7 in a weekly parliament session at the upper house, members of a cross-section of political parties agreed that delays in receiving Schengen visas that Moroccans are experiencing affect their “dignity.”
Members from the Popular Movement (PM) party warned that it can take months for people wishing to enter Europe for different purposes to get an appointment to receive a Schengen visa.
Counsellors also addressed the high cost of the Schengen visa fees. Schengen visa applicants will be subject to a new visa code as of February 3.
The new policy will include higher visa fees. Under the new rules, applicants will have to pay €80 (MAD 855) per application rather than the current rate of €60 (MAD 641).
Abdelwahed Driouche, a member at the house of councilors told Morocco World News that MPs called for field visits at consular missions to check how Schengen visa applications from Moroccans are handled.
“The issue was addressed in both houses of the parliament … it was also discussed with Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs [Nasser Bourita],” said the MP.
The Moroccan foreign minister has confirmed that communication is ongoing with consular representatives, he added.
The representatives argued that they receive multiple Schengen visa applications, emphasizing that “French consular cannot tackle all the applications, especially at the end of the year (2019).”
“MPs are not convinced with this argument,” Driouche said, emphasizing “the need of fieldwork to consular representatives to check how visa applications are handled.”
“There are real challenges. It is a normal process for consular and embassies to set their rules, including the raise of cost of Schengen visas,” Driouch said.
The MP, however, emphasized that the situation could improve if the European Union takes into account the strong EU-Morocco partnerships.
MWN also asked the MP whether Morocco is thinking to impose visa regulations on European travelers as a means to ensure “reciprocity.”
“Not at all,” Driouche said. “Morocco is not a passive country and cannot act in such a way. Such things happen in rare cases when there is stagnation of diplomatic channels and frozen diplomatic relations.”
Moroccans make one of the highest numbers of applications annually for Schengen visas.
Moroccan visa applicants spent more than MAD 424 million or $44 million on 662,586 Schengen visa applications in 2018, according to the latest statistics from Schengen Visa Info.
Of the 533,861 Moroccans who received Schengen visas in 2018, most applied for visas to France, followed by Spain, the Netherlands, and Italy.
The French consulates in Casablanca, Fez, and Rabat received the most Moroccan applications in 2018.