UK Schengen countries have amassed millions of pounds, euros from rejected visa applications from Pakistan.

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Hyderabad: 11 June 2024: Recent research reveals that the United Kingdom and Schengen countries have amassed millions of pounds and euros in fees from rejected visa applications originating from Pakistan.

According to findings published this month by Lago Collective, a consortium of researchers, policymakers, and designers, Pakistani applicants spent £5.3 million on UK visa applications that were ultimately rejected, with nearly 40 percent of applications facing refusal in 2023. Similarly, approximately 50 percent of Schengen visa applications from Pakistan were turned down, amounting to €3.344 million in expenditures.

Collaborating with EUobserver, Lago Collective disclosed that European Union governments collectively garnered €130 million annually from fees associated with denied visa applications, referred to as 'reverse remittances'.

Marta Foresti, co-author of the analysis alongside Otho Mantegazza, highlighted the tangible repercussions of visa inequality, particularly affecting the world's most economically disadvantaged populations. Foresti emphasized the concept of rejected visa costs as a form of wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier nations, underscoring the necessity to address this aspect in discussions on aid and migration.

The high rejection rates for short-term visa applications from Pakistan, averaging around 40 percent for both Schengen countries and the UK, result in significant financial burdens for all parties involved. Despite the existing ties between Pakistan, Europe, and the UK, accessing legal pathways to Europe remains challenging for Pakistani nationals. Foresti emphasized the tragic consequences of these hurdles, citing last year's Greece boat capsize incident, where hundreds lost their lives attempting perilous journeys due to limited legal alternatives. Marta Foresti, founder of Lago Collective and senior visiting fellow at ODI, reiterated the urgent need to address these systemic challenges.

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