UK and Schengen countries profit millions from visa applicants turned down from Pakistan

Recent research has unveiled that the United Kingdom and Schengen countries have raked in millions of pounds and euros in fees from rejected visa applications originating from Pakistan.

According to a study conducted by Lago Collective, a consortium of researchers, policymakers, and designers, Pakistanis spent £5.3 million on rejected UK visa applications in 2023, with nearly 40% of applications being turned down. Similarly, around half of the Schengen visa applications from Pakistan met a similar fate, resulting in €3.344 million spent on these rejected applications.

Data from the report highlights that out of 138,152 visa applications from Pakistan in 2023, 52,927 were rejected, while 62% of applicants successfully obtained visas. EUobserver emphasized that EU governments annually earn €130 million from fees for rejected visa applications, termed as ‘reverse remittances’, with the cost of Schengen visa rejections alone amounting to €130 million in 2023.

The study identified Morocco and Algeria as the largest sources of visa applications to the EU, with rejection rates for short-term visitor visas significantly higher for low and middle-income countries, particularly from Africa. Ghana, Senegal, and Nigeria face rejection rates of 40-50%. Notably, the application fee for short-term Schengen visas is €80, while for UK visas, it is £100. Countries with high rejection rates for UK visas, including Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Algeria, incurred substantial costs (£5.8 million, £5.3 million, £2.3 million, and £3.6 million, respectively).

In contrast, the Schengen visa approval rate for India remained high at approximately 85%, while for Pakistan, the approval rate stood at 50.46%, and the rejection rate for Iraq was noted at 35.23%.

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