Schengen Visa

Austria & Morocco Discuss Migration & Smuggling Issues

EU illegal migration

Austria and Morocco have recently focused their talks on a cooperation agreement on the ongoing action against the international trafficking mafia and the rapid return of illegal residents.

In this regard, the Minister of the Interior of Austria, Gerhard Karner, said that it is essential to curb asylum by fighting against the abuse of asylum and that he is looking for cooperation with the countries of origin, reports.

Through a statement issued today, the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior revealed that in January of this year alone, more than 1,300 people from Morocco applied for asylum in Austria.

The data provided by the Ministry also show that about 90 per cent of these people fell prey to criminal organisations that help them reach the bloc illegally.

“On the one hand, it’s about preventing people from countries like Morocco from making their way to Europe. On the other hand, the repatriations and deportations are carried out more consistently and quickly,” Minister Karner pointed out.

According to the Ministry, Moroccan citizens can generally enter Türkiye without a visa. Thus, the smugglers try to drag them through the external Turkish-Bulgarian border in Bulgaria and further through Serbia and Hungary to the Austrian border. As a result, between €6,000 and €12,000 are paid for smuggling from Morocco to Europe.

In October last year, the Moroccan authorities dismantled an organisation that was involved in the forgery of documents used to obtain Schengen visas.

As the General Directorate of National Security of Morocco explains, the network used forged documents to facilitate the illegal movement of people into the EU.

In January of this year, the European Commission rejected Austria’s proposal to allocate a total of two billion euros for improving fences on the border between Bulgaria and Türkiye.

In this regard, the Commission emphasised that an additional budget is needed for the improvement of the fence in order to keep the immigrants outside the common border between Bulgaria and Türkiye.

Moreover, last month, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer requested the EU to strengthen the protection of external borders further to prevent flows and tackle irregular migration.

According to him, this request aims to pressure the authorities to present a general approach to migration routes.

He also added that given the high number of illegal arrivals and the current situation, he would not support the summit if the EU leaders disagreed on measures to stop the immigration crisis.