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Unequal Access: Hypocrisy of European Visas

Unequal Access: Hypocrisy of European Visas
According to a report by Henley and partners, European visa rules are significantly stricter for African travelers compared to their counterparts from other regions. The study also highlights that the continent experienced a 30% refusal rate for Schengen visas in 2022, the highest despite having the lowest application per capita.
The colonial history of European and African countries has played an important role in their diplomatic and economic relations, affecting present-day visa policies. European powers established exploitative patterns during colonialism, leaving lasting effects on this relationship, according to Dr. Margaret Monyani, senior Migration Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, South Africa.
“This trend is being influenced by historical perceptions and biases where African nations and their citizens are seen in a certain light, which then affects the fairness and equity of visa issuance,” the migration expert explains.
Dr. Monyani further highlights the impact of “paternalistic views” towards African countries by former colonial powers to control their movement and opportunities.

"So there is that feeling that they have these supervisory powers, and they determine who moves and which opportunities people from certain places can have access to. So you see this paternalistic approach then influence visa policies and in […] one or two ways, for instance, it has led to a perception that European countries need to oversee, and need to regulate African migration," she says.

The expert concludes by highlighting that such policies undermine the “principles of equality and nondiscrimination” and stresses the need for a transparent criteria visa processing system that evaluates all applicants under the same standards.
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