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Migration and Home Affairs
News article25 March 2019

EMN Study on Impact of visa liberalisation on countries of destination

As of 2018, five Western Balkan countries and three Eastern Partnership countries now benefit from visa liberalisation to the EU Schengen area. These countries are deemed safe and well-governed, and have been required to meet several criteria in policy areas such as borders, migration and asylum management, security, external relations and fundamental rights. The European Migration Network (EMN) has now released a study on the impacts on countries of destination, providing insights into trends in 25 EU countries and Norway, following visa liberalisation for nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

The main research findings and key points to note:

  • The main direct impacts of visa liberalisation included an immediate increase in short-term travel to the countries of destination from visa-free countries and an immediate reduction in the workload of consulate staff;
  • One of the main indirect impacts of visa liberalisation relates to the facilitation of access to the labour market in specific Member States;
  • Following visa liberalisation, there has been an overall increase in the number of asylum applicants from visa-free countries, most of which have received a negative decision;
  • There has been an increase in the number of nationals from visa-free countries detected as overstaying their maximum period allowed after visa liberalisation;
  • Most Member States did not report any specific challenges in the area of illegal employment after visa liberalisation was introduced;
  • There has been an increase in the number of nationals from visa-free countries detected as overstaying their maximum period allowed after visa liberalisation;
  • Most Member States did not report any specific challenges in the area of illegal employment after visa liberalisation was introduced;
  • There is little evidence of a link between visa liberalisation and the facilitation of irregular migration;
  • After visa liberalisation was introduced, several Member States observed an increase in criminal activities.

Click here to download the full study
Click here to download the Inform
Click here to download the one-pager

Details

Publication date
25 March 2019