This inform summarises the results of the EMN Synthesis Report on Impact of Visa Liberalisation on Countries of Destination.
Visa liberalisation is one of the EU’s most powerful tools in facilitating people-to-people contacts and strengthening ties between the nationals of third countries and the EU. It fosters mobility, improves regional cooperation between individual countries and creates more open societies. Third countries that benefit from visa liberalisation to the EU are deemed safe and well-governed, and have been required to meet several criteria in policy areas such as border, migration and asylum management security, external relations and fundamental rights.
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.
- Following visa liberalisation, which has made it easier for third-country nationals to travel to the EU and Norway to explore employment opportunities, there has been an increase in the number of residence permits issued to nationals of the eight visa-free countries (mostly for remunerated activities).
- 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 was little evidence of a link between visa liberalisation and the facilitation of irregular migration.