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Schengen visas and migration to the EU: Belarus as a 'backward leader’. Andrei Yeliseyeu. Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) Visa statistics (2006-2012).

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Schengen visas and migration to the EU: Belarus as a 'backward leader’

Andrei Yeliseyeu

Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS)


Visa statistics (2006-2012)

Number of visas (ths) issued by the EU states consulates in Belarus. Since 2008, Schengen visas A,B,C categories (LTV and national visas, GB, IR, RO, BG excluded)


Visa statistics

Before 2008, a visa fee for a one-entry Polish and Lithuanian national visas was as low as EUR 5, Latvian national visas were issued gratis.

Since late 2007, visa fees for Schengen visas increased up to EUR60.


Visa statistics

Visa statistics

All consulates

PL and LT consulates

  • Two thirds of visas issued by EU member states are given by Polish and Lithuanian consulates
  • In May 2008, the Sejm deputy from the border region sent a request to the Foreign Ministry of Poland for the clarification of the situation. The request mentioned the deterioration of the situation for the entrepreneurs whose businesses depended on the Belarusian tourists.

Visa statistics

Visa statistics

Refusals, 2012, %:HU — 0,11%SK — 0,09%CZ — 3,33%PL — 0,36%

Multi-visas 2012, %:HU — 23,4%SK — 30,19%CZ — 12,59%PL — 66,7%

  • Consulates of the three remaining V4 countries issue about 4% of all the Schengen given in Belarus
  • Czech consulate is the 'hardest' of all EU countries: the largest % of refusals, the lowest % multiple-entry visas , conflicting with a voiced policy

Belarus is a world leader in Schengen visas per capita

The best result among the third countries that still have visa regime with the EU. Belarus is also leading in a share of multi-entry Schengen visas among the EP countries


Among world leaders in % of refusals

One of the lowest rate in the world, follows only after Oman, Bahrain and Trinidad and Tobago.


Visa relations in legal terms, or Why Belarus is a 'backward leader'

A meagre % of visa refusals makes illegal border crossing for Belarusians irrational


Reasons behind the seemingly conflicting situation

  • Operation of the consulates optimized, online applicant registration introduced
  • Consular offices instructed to fully utilize the opportunities provided by the EU Visa Code
  • Relations with the EU deteriorated after December 2010, EC invitation sent amid diplomatic crisis
  • Official Minsk apprehension of the consequences of the country's openness and of the readmission agreement with the EU

Low awareness of the SBC rules

Ratio of refusals of entry into the EU on account of inadequate means of subsistence

to the total number of refusals

In 2011, nationals of Belarus accounted for 20.5% of the total number of EU entry refusals for financial reasons to all third country nationals. Polish border authorities account for 95% of entry refusals to Belarusians for financial reasons.


Belarusian refugee applicants

■ 50% surge in refugee applications in the crisis 2011 year (devaluation 172%, inflation 108.7%);

■ No correlation with changes in visa procedures (no drop in 2008), but rather with an economic welfare;

■ Half of applications lodged in the Scandinavian countries and Netherlands, only a small amount in the neighboring countries;

■ Low level of grounded applications (in 2011, of 845 first instance decisions on asylum applications lodged by Belarusians, 130 were positive. Yet 90 decisions were positive among more than 400 final decisions).


Number of temporary labor migrants?

Labor Force Survey launched in 2011 but results are not public

Labor force = 6 mln,

Economically active population = 4 mln 600 th,

Unemployed = around 6% = circa 200 th search for a job at a local labor market,

Economically inactive population (females aged 16 to 54, males aged 16 to 59) = 6 mln - 4 mln 600 th - 200 th = 1 mln 200 th.

Of those, more than 300 th are senior pupils and full-time students,

plus employed in a grey market and those that don't search for a job. Roughly,300 th are labor migrants in Russia.

Western labor markets are not that attractive for nohighly-skilled specialists as the Russian market.

Number of permanent emigrants is a separate story.




Money transfers by natural persons to Belarus, 2011

Personal transfers to Belarus, 2008-2012


Demographic burden

Decrease in overall population since 1994 of more than half a mln

But labor force was on constant rise until 2008

Period of 'demographic bonus' until 2008 opened as a consequence of change in age structure

Demographic burden in 2007-2008 was virtually the lowest in post-war history of Belarus


Demographic burden

Number of depended population per 1000 indivuduals in working age

Demographic burden is in constant rise since 2008, shortage of certain specialties will be becoming more acute


Population by citizenship, Eurostat

Belarusian citizens, permanent inhabitants in the EU states

Concerning Poland, plus 50 th. Belarusians hold 'Karta Polaka' (even more national long-term visas are issued annually by Polish consulates)


Acquisition of citizenship

  • Poland, Great Britain, Italy and... Hungary


Andrei Yeliseyeu