Anniversary of visa-free regime: statistics, trends, strategy
More than 20 million times Ukrainians have visited the EU during the first year of visa-free regime. Over 555 thousand Ukrainians have enjoyed the benefits of the visa-free travel. During the first year of visa-free regime, the State Migration Service of Ukraine has issued more than 5 million biometric passports. Such data was presented by Maxim Sokolyuk, Head of the State Migration Service of Ukraine, during the press briefing at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center.
Ukrainians continue to issue biometric passports. The highest daily rates were observed when more than 26 thousand people came to the State Migration Service of Ukraine. “There are problems with the queues, unfortunately, we still have them. But now the Centers of Administrative Services are involved in the process. Today we have 80 CASs”, – added Maxim Sokolyuk.
The level of refused entries is rather low. Only 37 thousand Ukrainians were not allowed to enter the Schengen area. The number of refused entries reaches only 0.2% of all cases. Among the main reasons for refusals were the following: inappropriateness of the purpose of the trip, insufficient financial means and overstaying. “There are no real threats to review the conditions of visa-free regime now. At the same time, the security component is a priority not only for our European colleagues but also for Ukraine”, – assured Vasyl Servatyuk, First Deputy Head of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine.
During the first half of the year, the number of visas issued to Ukrainians decreased by 50%: 720 thousand Ukrainians have submitted documents for a visa. The number of refusals increased from 3.2% in 2016 to 3.7% in 2017. Also, the number of unregulated Ukrainian migrants has increased. In 2017, there were 32,000 illegal migrants from Ukraine, 24 thousand of them returned to Ukraine.
Ukraine took the 22nd place in the number of asylum seekers in the European Union. “In 2017 there was the lowest number of Ukrainian asylum seekers in the European Union since 2014. Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain and France were the top 5 countries where Ukrainians applied for asylum in 2017”, – said Iryna Sushko, Executive director of the NGO “Europe without Barriers”.