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EU targets Golden Visas, explores tightening rules against visa-free travel

05:51 PM | 14 Mar, 2024
EU targets Golden Visas, explores tightening rules against visa-free travel

BERLIN - Members of the European Union have agreed to explore the option to tighten rules against visa-free travel regimes with third countries. 

The EU member states’ ambassadors (Coreper) have agreed on a draft regulation that updates a mechanism that allows the EU to suspend visa-free travel for third countries whose nationals are exempt from the visa obligation when travelling to the Schengen area.

if adopted, this new measure will boost the EU’s toolbox to counter situations when visa-free travel is being abused or works against the interests of the bloc.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the council elaborated that under the updated mechanism, the EU will be given the following new grounds to suspend the visa-free regime:

  • Lack of alignment of a visa-free third country with the EU’s visa policy, in cases where this may lead to increased arrivals to the EU e.g. because of this country’s geographical proximity to the EU
  • The operation of an investor citizenship scheme, whereby citizenship is granted without any genuine link to the third country concerned, in exchange for pre-determined payments or investments
  • Hybrid threats and deficiencies in document security legislation or procedures

'Member states have decided to also include the possibility to suspend the visa-free regime in case of a significant and abrupt deterioration in the EU’s external relations with a third country, in particular when it relates to human rights and fundamental freedoms,' the press release stated.

As per the official version, the following existing grounds remain in place:

  • A substantial increase in the number of third-country nationals who are refused entry or found overstaying
  • A substantial increase in the number of unfounded asylum applications from the nationals of a third country for which the recognition rate is low
  • A decrease in cooperation with the EU on readmission of people who have been asked to leave the EU territory and a risk or imminent threat to public policy or internal security (e.g. because of an increase in criminal offences).

Another ground that already forms part of the current mechanism i.e. the failure to meet the visa liberalization benchmarks by partners that have been through a visa liberalization dialogue to become visa-free is now defined more clearly in the new regulation.

As far as the duration of the temporary suspension of visa exception is concerned, it has been increased from 9 to 12 months and can be extended by another 24 months (instead of 18 months under the current system). During this suspension phase, the European Commission will engage in a dialogue with the third country to take steps to address the circumstances that led to the suspension.

'If no solution is found to remedy the situation, the EU can decide to permanently revoke the visa-free travel regime,' the press release read.

At present, the EU has established visa-free agreements with 61 third countries. Citizens of these nations can travel to the Schengen area without a visa for short stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

It is noteworthy that the EU has implemented stricter regulations concerning countries providing services related to the Golden Visa scheme or residency obtained through investment - a visible indication of the fact that the EU discourages such schemes.

Daily Pakistan Global Web Desk

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PKR rate against US Dollar, Euro, Pound, Riyal - Check 16 April forex rates

Pakistani currency gains momentum against all currencies on April 16, 2024 Tuesday. US dollar was being quoted at 277.9 for buying and 280.85 for selling.

Euro was quoted at 295 for buying and 298 for selling while British Pound stands at 345 for buying, and 349 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED was at 75.4 and Saudi Riyal's new rates was at 73.30. 

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 15 April 2024

Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 277.9 280.85
Euro EUR 295 298
UK Pound Sterling GBP 345 349
U.A.E Dirham AED 75.45 76.2
Saudi Riyal SAR 73.3 74.05
Australian Dollar AUD 182.7 184.5
Bahrain Dinar BHD 739.38 747.38
Canadian Dollar CAD 204 206.2
China Yuan CNY 38.45 38.85
Danish Krone DKK 40.45 40.85
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.57 35.92
Indian Rupee INR 3.33 3.44
Japanese Yen JPY 1.86 1.94
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 903.91 912.91
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.92 59.52
New Zealand Dollar NZD 167.63 169.63
Norwegians Krone NOK 25.38 25.68
Omani Riyal OMR 722.1 730.1
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.35 77.05
Singapore Dollar SGD 206 208
Swedish Korona SEK 25.72 26.02
Swiss Franc CHF 307.11 309.61
Thai Bhat THB 7.61 7.76

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