EU to impose restrictions on countries not taking back their citizens
The European Council has directed the European Union to impose visa restrictions on the countries that are not cooperating to take back illegal immigrants.
At least 330,000 illegal immigrants entered EU's 27 countries in 2022, which is 64 per cent more than in 2021. The number of asylum seekers in the European countries has also seen a 46 per cent increase as 924,000 people sought refuge in Europe last year.
The decision to restrict visas of the source countries came in the wake of such influx of refugees. The decision was taken at a special meeting of European Council in Belgium’s Brussels on Thursday. Russia-Ukraine war, economic situation and illegal immigration were the main topics of the discussion in the meeting.
The EU received at least 648,000 applications seeking asylum in 2021, according to a report of European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) published in June last year. Bangladesh was among the top countries whose citizens were seeking asylum in the bloc.
An announcement after Thursday’s meeting said EU will continue its effort to stave off illegal immigration and loss of lives. The meeting also decided to decrease the pressure of illegal migrants from the EU border and member states.
The declaration said the EU will intensify its efforts to deport illegal migrants to their own countries alongside fighting against human trafficking gangs. Action would be taken against the countries which will not extend cooperation in this end. The EU will also use diplomatic tools such as shrinking development support and businesses with the countries that will not assist the EU take back their citizens.
The European Council works on EU’s political instruction and priorities. The council consists of heads of government-state of the member countries, presidents of European Council and European Parliament. High-level foreign and security officials usually take part in the European Council meeting.
The last meeting in Brussels reiterated the need for a concerted and effective policy for deportation of illegal immigrants.
It was assumed since the last week of the previous month that EU is going to take a tougher stance on question of illegal immigration. The European Council in its last meeting did not mention any country but Bangladesh is among the top countries whose citizens seek asylum in the EU
The meeting suggested that not only the source countries but the countries that are used as transit too should be taken into the process and diplomatic and other efforts should be stepped up.
The meeting also laid emphasis on keeping a congruity of visa policies between EU members and neighbouring countries to make visa-free system and migration system sustainable. European Council has welcomed the move of western Balkan states that have already taken measures to this end.
It was assumed since the last week of the previous month that EU is going to take a tougher stance on question of illegal immigration. The European Council in its last meeting did not mention any country but Bangladesh is among the top countries whose citizens seek asylum in the EU. Bangladesh is third on the list of illegal immigration seekers to Europe on the Mediterranean sea route via Libya and neighbouring countries.
Bangladesh in 2017 signed a standard operating procedure (SOP) with EU after facing pressure to bring back illegal immigrants. Bangladesh, upon proper verification, is bringing back its citizens living illegally in the Europe under this SOP.
The process of taking back undocumented migrants was interrupted at the beginning of Covid pandemic. The EU at that time warned of imposing visa restrictions on Bangladeshis. Later Bangladesh accelerated the process of taking back its undocumented citizens from EU countries.