The MP says that “slow” and “ineffective” visa application process is now a foreign policy issue for France.
Rabat- Franco-Moroccan MP M’Jid El Guerrab presented a report to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly on January 12, appealing for an easier visa granting process for Africans.
The report, titled “For a new visa policy: opening France to those who make it shine,” is a collaborative proposal from MP El Guerrab who represents French expats abroad, and Sira Sylla, an elected representative and a specialist in issues affecting African diasporas.
The document confirmed French authorities’ long-suspected bias against nationals of African countries in terms of visa issuing.
In 2019, the European country issued 3.5 million short and long-stay visas, only 10% were granted to citizens of sub-Saharan Africa. While the average visa refusal rate worldwide is 16.3%, it reaches 45% for Algerian applicants.
The report lists issues with visa bureaucracy in the African continent: “Excessively long delivery times, unjustified refusals, strained consular services.” The complicated process surrounding visa-issuing has become a foreign policy issue for France, according to the report. “It is one of the main irritants between France and Africa,” said the document.
Deputies El Guerrab and Sylla proposed a series of new procedures to “de-dramatize ” the visa application process. They particularly recommended the issuing of visas in 48 hours throughout the African continent as is the case in Asia.
The MPs pleaded for more fluidity with regard to applications from individuals who have received French visas before. They also criticized the constant increase in visa application fees.
The report recommends increasing the number of “talent passport” in Africa. Talent Passeport is a residency card that offers opportunities for qualified employees, researchers, artists, or entrepreneurs to stay in France for extended periods.
Moroccans make up one of the highest numbers of applications annually for French visas.
Moroccan visa applicants spent more than MAD 424 million ($44 million) on 379,347 Schengen visa applications in 2019, according to the latest statistics from Schengen Visa Info.
The French consulates in Casablanca, Fez, and Rabat received the most applications in 2019.