100 days of EU-Ukraine visa liberalization boosts travel by 10%

 

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Article by: Vitalii Rybak

More than 3 months have passed after visa-free regime between EU and Ukraine came into force. On June 11, the first travelers could enter EU countries without a need to pay for a visa. Three months is just a start, and there is not yet enough statistics made public. But we can draw some conclusions from the available data.

First, it is worth to mention that summer is a period of vacations, and it is primarily for them EU-Ukraine that visa liberalization eases entry requirements. It permits Ukrainians to stay in EU countries for 90 days within any 180-day-period. No employment or study is envisioned.

Second, according to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency referring to the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine – from June 11 to September 11 – more than 5.8 mn Ukrainians visited the EU – 10% more than during the same period last year. Only 25% of them had biometric passports allowing their holders to enter the EU without a visa, and only 235,795 Ukrainians did not have a visa in the passport. Thus, 87% of citizens with biometric passports traveled with visas, and only 4% took full advantage of the benefits of the visa-free regime. 

Third, the number of refusals in entry is low – only 61 were turned around at the border. The main reasons are overstays and previous breaches of EU migration rules.

And the last thing, as mentioned above, a biometric passport is among the conditions to enter EU without visa. So from the beginning of 2017, about 2.5 mm Ukrainians received biometric passports, according to the Ukrinform multimedia platform. From the day the visa-free regime was launched (June 11), – 775 871 Ukrainians got their biometric passports, according to Yevropeiska Pravda.

Thus, these numbers prove the conclusions made in a previous article that visa policy is not a decisive factor to determine migration flows. It can facilitate entry but the desire or the need are more important. In the case of Ukraine, a complex economic situation and war in Donbas are the main push factors to leave Ukraine.

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