Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

France and Tunisia agree to normalize the issuance of visas

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, September 1st 2022 à 14:50 | Read 465 times

Tunisia regains an appeased relationship with France on the issue of visas (photo: F.Dubessy)
Tunisia regains an appeased relationship with France on the issue of visas (photo: F.Dubessy)
FRANCE / TUNISIA. In a brief joint statement issued Wednesday, August 31, 2022, the Tunisian and French Ministries of the Interior announced "the normalization by France, with immediate effect, the modalities of issuing visas in Tunisia.

This information comes as the two Ministers of the Interior, Taoufik Charfeddine and Gerald Darmanin, spoke by phone the same day on the issue of cooperation in migration and mobility. "They welcomed the good momentum underway," said the statement.

The day before, Najla Bouden, head of the Tunisian government, on an official two-day visit to Paris, met with his French counterpart Elisabeth Borne. They had discussed the issue of visas and residence permits, and ways to review the restrictive measures introduced in recent months to address a more flexible approach in granting them to applicants. So it's done!

This normalization puts an end to a period of restriction decreed by France. On September 28, 2021, Paris decided to reduce the number of visas issued to the three Maghreb countries by dividing them by two for Algerian and Moroccan nationals and by 30% for Tunisians. The figures used were based on 2020 data. A reaction to the attitude of the governments of these three Maghreb states justified at the time by Gabriel Attal, spokesman for the French government, "it is a drastic decision, it is an unprecedented decision, but it is a decision made necessary by the fact that these countries do not agree to take back nationals that we do not want and that we can not keep in France."

33,000 visas issued in 2022

The threat had been brewing since 2017 when Emmanuel Macron raised the issue. "There was a dialogue, then threats, and today we are carrying out this threat," concluded, in September 2021 Gabriel Attal.

Any foreigner subject to an OQTF (Obligation de quitter le territoire français) can only be deported with a consular pass issued by the authorities of his country. Between January and July 2021, France issued 7731 OQTFs against Algerian nationals, but only 22 expulsions were carried out. That is 0.2% of OQTFs. For Rabat, 3,301 OQTFs were issued for 138 consular passes issued and eighty effective expulsions, i.e. 2.4% of OQTFs.

Tunisia is the first country not to be affected by this measure. It was also the best pupil in the Maghreb in this respect, with 3,424 OQTFs and 131 effective expulsions (4%) for 153 passes over the same period as mentioned above.

The interior ministers "agreed to conduct a joint evaluation of cooperation on all issues of common interest by the end of the year," the statement said.

On August 1, 2022, the Consulate General of France in Tunisia indicated that this country was in fourth place worldwide for the issuance of visas for France. With an acceptance rate of 66%. From January to May 2022, more than 50,000 applications were processed, or more than 500 per day, twice as many as in 2020 and 2021 (during the health crisis). 33,000 visas were issued in the first five months of 2022.

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