Migration Watch UK press release on reports the EU Commission will recommend Turkish citizens be granted visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone

May 03, 2016

Reports have emerged that tomorrow the European Commission will propose that the requirement for a visa in order to enter the Schengen Zone be lifted for Turkish nationals. This is despite Turkey being some way from fulfilling all of the 72 requirements set out by the Commission.

Visa-free travel is being offered to Turkish citizens in exchange for governmental support to address the migration crisis. Last year almost 900,000 people arrived in Greece via Turkey. Turkish President Recep Erdogan has reportedly threatened to withhold cooperation and support if visa-free travel is not approved.

Key requirements that are yet to be met by the Turkish authorities:

  • Securing the external border, especially with the European Union;
  • Tightening visa rules for nationals of countries that are a significant source of illegal migration to the EU;
  • Putting in place readmission agreements with those countries that are a source of illegal migration to the UK.

Visa-free travel also increases the value of a Turkish passport since it enables the holder to travel easily to the Schengen Zone, therefore increasing the risk that they might be purchased. While visa-free travel does not enable Turks to work, it is likely that many will stay on and work in the black economy. The UK is not a member of the Schengen Zone and therefore Turkish nationals will not be able to travel to the UK without a visa.

Migration Watch UK has published a paper covering these issues. To read the paper see here: European Union MW 379

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