Moroccan exporters grappling with Schengen visa requirements and restrictions are facing obstacles preventing their participation in sectoral trade shows.
These exporters have expressed growing concerns over intermediaries monopolizing appointment bookings, leaving them unable to secure the necessary visas, as reported by SchengenVisaInfo.com.
Several Moroccan exporters have been forced to abandon efforts to secure Schengen visas due to these challenges. This has resulted in them being unable to take part in key trade and networking events, including the upcoming Fruit Attraction exhibition set to take place in Madrid this October.
One exporter said, “This year, we can not attend Fruit Attraction in Madrid due to the chaotic outsourcing of consular services. Getting an appointment to apply for a visa is impossible. We have simply given up taking part in the event, which is very penalising given that most of our business is with European customers”
The exporter added that they are unwilling to seek a visa through illicit means, emphasizing that the opportunity to obtain the document should be available to all on an equal basis, without the need for external assistance.
“I chose not to give in to the blackmail of illegal intermediaries and not to seek interventions that should not be necessary for such a basic service,” the exporter said.
The situation has also impacted their plans for the important Fruit Logistica event in Berlin. These struggles come as Moroccan exporters call for quicker solutions and less bureaucracy in securing Schengen visas.
In the past, reports have emerged about intermediaries manipulating visa appointment bookings and reselling them at higher prices on the black market.
It’s worth noting that Morocco has not yet reached a visa-free travel agreement with Schengen countries, making the visa application process a necessity.
This process includes various requirements such as the visa application form, passport, passport-size photos, proof of accommodation, paid visa fee, travel health insurance, sufficient financial means, and a detailed roundtrip itinerary.