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EU tightens visa requirements for Ethiopians over a lack of government cooperation on deportations

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The European Union announced on Monday that it is tightening visa requirements for people from Ethiopia, accusing the government there of a failure to cooperate in taking back citizens found to be living illegally in the 27-nation bloc.

Migration Europe Ethiopia
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EU headquarters said the time it takes to process visas for Ethiopian nationals will triple from 15 to 45 days. EU countries will no longer be permitted to waive requirements for certain paperwork or issue multiple-entry visas. Ethiopian diplomats and officials will now have to pay for travel visas.

The EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, has vowed to use visa rules as a way of applying pressure on countries to cooperate in deportation procedures. Only around one in three people ordered to depart the EU ever actually leave.

The Commission says the action is being taken due to “a lack of response from the Ethiopian authorities with regard to readmission requests,” as well as shortcomings with “the organization of both voluntary and non-voluntary return operations,” which is the way the EU describes deportation.

Most people staying illegally in the EU arrive without breaking any rules via airports or ports but never go home once their visas expire, outnumbering those who arrive on unseaworthy boats or travel overland in search of refuge, jobs or better lives in Europe.