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Algeria slams France's decision to reduce visas for its citizens

French policemen operate at Orly Airport, near Paris, France on 18 March 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın/Anadolu Agency]
French policemen operate at Orly Airport, near Paris, France on 18 March 2017 [Mustafa Yalçın/Anadolu Agency]

The Algerian Foreign Ministry said yesterday that it "deplores" the French authorities' decision to reduce the number of visas issued to its citizens, on the eve of their discussions on immigration.

In statements the Foreign Ministry's envoy to the Maghreb and Western Sahara, Amar Belani, said: "We took note of this inappropriate decision, which we deplore,"  it's a "unilateral decision."

"The unfortunate decision comes after an Algerian delegation traveled to Paris with the aim of strengthening cooperation in managing irregular migration between the two countries."

Yesterday the French government announced that it would tighten visa requirements for citizens of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Paris justified its move on the grounds that these countries refused to issue the necessary consular permits to return irregular migrants from France.

According to French media, 7,731 deportation orders were issued against Algerian nationals between January and July 2021, 597 of whom were arrested, while the Algerian authorities signed consular permits for the return of 31.

Last December, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated that it was President Emmanuel Macron who had decided to reduce visas granted to Algerians in 2019 to stem the flow of irregular immigration.

According to official data from the French Consulate General in Algeria, out of 504,000 visa applications in 2019, 274,000 were approved.

According to the same data, the three French consulates in Algeria granted 412,000 visas in 2018, while the number of applications exceeded half a million.

READ: France's Macron asks Algerian veterans for 'forgiveness'

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