The Netherlands tightens the screws on fraudsters

After France, Italy… it is the turn of the Netherlands to react in relation to appointment reservations for Schengen visa applications, made by intermediaries who then resell them. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has indeed “some measures” immediate, and others to follow.

The diplomacy of the Netherlands thus reacts to the content of a correspondence addressed by the deputy Kati Piri, of the Labor Party (PvdA) concerning the granting of visas to Moroccans at the level of the consulates of the Netherlands in Morocco. The advanced data had been controversial, and the government provided a number of answers.

First of all, it is a question of technical measures” taken to prevent commercial parties from reserving slots for later resale. For example, it is explained, an appointment must be made directly with a name that cannot be changed in the system afterwards, and if it is canceled, it is no longer immediately released, but it happens at a random moment”.

As for the “frequent delays which mean that response times set at 15 days are no longer respected”the Dutch authorities ensure “regret that applicants may face longer waiting times to make appointments to apply for a visa.”

“Rmeeting the needs of the applications is a major priority”, and the party in charge of the question “ strives to increase decision-making capacity,” but stay “faced with a number of staffing issues in this regard”,observes the Ministry of AE.

While saying ” to assume their responsibilities “the same source nevertheless explains that “the booking of appointment slots by intermediaries plays a role in lengthening the waiting times that applicants may experience” .

Increasing visa processing capacity worldwide is a key priority. In order to meet the needs of applicants, the ministry is working to increase staff processing capacity by recruiting new staff and further developing digital systems,” is it still underlined.

Furthermore, the ministry claims that “ the aim is for the granting of Schengen visas to reach 80% of production by the end of this year, which will allow visa applicants to resubmit their application within the applicable deadlines”. Priority will be given, in particular, to countries where this leads to problems,” is it specified.

It should be noted that several Moroccans found themselves faced with this problem and were deprived of travel following the delay or lack of response from the consulate. In this respect the Dutch ministry expressed its regret vis-à-vis ” the inconvenience and disappointment this may cause”,ensuring that in death, funeral or other emergencies, the ministry undertakes to process the visa application as a matter of urgency for humanitarian reasons” .

With regard to scams, the department expresses its “strong disapproval » of this practice. “The VFS website warns people not to use these services (…) Theappointment system must be accessible to anyone wishing to make an appointment. Intermediaries can obtain an appointment in different ways: for example by using special software and deploying manpower to constantly monitor the appointment system”, laments the AE department.

However, he regrets, despite the efforts made and ” although these measures had some effect, they did not completely solve the problem”.

“Other technical measures are currently being prepared to try to further reduce the extent of this problem”,promises the ministry.

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