The Algerian Foreign Ministry said, on Tuesday, that it “regrets” the French authorities’ decision to reduce the visas of its citizens, on the eve of their discussions on immigration.
This came according to statements by the Foreign Ministry’s envoy to the Maghreb and Western Sahara, Ammar Ballani, to the official Algerian News Agency.
Ammar Balani said: “We took note of this inappropriate decision, which we regret,” considering it a “unilateral decision.”
The same official explained, “The unfortunate decision comes on the eve of the Algerian delegation’s travel to Paris with the aim of strengthening cooperation in managing irregular migration between the two countries.”
On Tuesday, the French government announced, through an official spokesperson, 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 present on French soil.
According to French media, 7,731 deportations were issued from French soil against Algerian nationals between January and July 2021, 597 of whom were arrested, and the Algerian authorities signed 31 consular permits to return them to their country.
Last December, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated that it was President Emmanuel Macron who 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 thousand visa applications in 2019, 274,000 applications were approved.
According to the same data, the French consulates in Algeria (there are three) granted 412 thousand visas in 2018, while the number of applications exceeded half a million.