The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Wopke Hoekstra, has addressed the problems that nationals of Morocco face when applying for Schengen visas and has pledged to increase their capacities so that visas can be processed faster.
Answering the questions from Kati Piri, who serves as a member of the House Representatives of the Netherlands, Minister Hoekstra said that the processing period for visa applications increased due to the high demand after the country eased its COVID travel restrictions, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Minister Hoekstra stressed that he is aware of the long waiting time that nationals of Morocco have been facing, and at the same time, pointed out that the authorities are working to increase the capacities so that the processing of Schengen visas can be accelerated.
“The capacity is increased regularly and we aim for it by the end to process 80 per cent of the pre-COVID numbers this year. With this visa applicants will be able to resubmit their visa application within the applicable deadline,” the statement of Minister Hoekstra reads.
In addition to the above-mentioned, the Minister said that he regrets causing inconveniences for those who were planning to attend important family occasions but could not do so due to the long waiting times.
He stressed that in the event of emergencies, the authorities will make sure to accelerate the visa-issuing process so that the applicants can reach the Netherlands in time.
“The Ministry regrets the inconvenience and disappointment this may cause. In the event of funerals or other emergencies, the Ministry will act on humanitarian grounds in order to expedite the visa application to deal with,” Minister Hoekstra added.
Regarding the visa application slots that are sold for €200 by intermediaries, Minister Hoekstra said that his ministry strongly disapproves of this practice and warned everyone to not use these services.
Previously, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that nationals of Morocco have been facing Schengen visa-related problems when applying in other countries too.
The head of the AMHD rights group, Aziz Ghali, accused the EU countries of limiting the number of Schengen visas granted to Moroccans despite applicants meeting all the required criteria. Demonstrators also criticised the EU countries for not giving any explanation when rejecting their visas.
Schengen Visa Statistics show that nationals of Morocco filed about 157,000 Schengen visa applications in 2021. Of the total number, 39,520 of them were rejected, at a rate of 27,6 per cent, which is the highest that the average global rejection rate.
Read More: Netherlands’ FM Pledges to Solve Problems Moroccans Face When Applying for Schengen Visas