Exporters from Morocco who need a Schengen visa in order to be able to enter the bloc have expressed their concern about not being able to participate in tradeshows due to visa-related issues.
As the exporters have said, intermediaries are booking and reselling all the appointments, making it impossible for them to apply for the document.
According to FreshPlaza, several Moroccan exporters have already given up trying to apply for a Schengen visa. They have also stressed that due to visa problems, they will not be able to take part in trade and networking events, as well as in the upcoming Fruit Attraction exhibition that will take place in Madrid in October.
“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,” a produce exporter said for FreshPlaza.
Several other exporters said the same thing, too, with one of them stressing that this is the first time since they started their business that they will not be participating in the Fruit Attraction exhibition.
The exporter further said that they refuse to apply for the visa through illegal intermediaries when the possibility to apply for the document should be given to everyone equally, without being pushed to seek interventions.
“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.
In addition to the above-mentioned, the Moroccan exporters said that they would also be unable to attend the Fruit Logistica in Berlin, which according to them, is a must-attend event for their business.
They also stressed that it takes months to make an appointment for a Schengen visa and called on the authorities to take measures so that they are no longer prevented from attending important events.
Other Moroccan Schengen visa applicants have also complained about the appointments. Earlier this month, Moroccans said that intermediaries are booking appointments and then reselling them on the black market for a higher price.
All citizens of Morocco continue to be subject to the visa requirement as the country has not reached a visa-free travel agreement with the Schengen countries.
When applying for a Schengen visa, Moroccans need to submit several documents, including the visa application form, their passport, and two passport-size photographs.
Moreover, they also need to submit proof of accommodation, proof of paid visa fee, proof of having purchased travel health insurance, proof of sufficient financial means, and a roundtrip itinerary, among others.