Experts discuss ECOVISA fee for migrants of non-ECOWAS member states in Accra hoping to finalize it by the end of a two-day meeting.
The two-day meeting taking place between Monday, May 22 to Tuesday, May 23, 2023, is under the auspices of the ECOWAS Commission through the Directorate of Free Movement of Persons and Migration.
The objective of the meeting is to ensure that the cost of the ECOVISA is in harmony with the Schenzhen and other types of multi-visa issued by other member states outside the ECOWAS region.
This two-day meeting follows stakeholders’ meetings held in 2021 and 2022, which gave Civil Society, private sector and investors the opportunity to make key recommendations into the processes and procedures, cost and design of the ECOVISA for validation.
Experts discuss ECOVISA
The first day of the technical meeting allowed experts to present the report and recommendations from the stakeholders’ meeting held in October, 2022 for discussions and collective input.
As part of the recommendations from the meeting held in March, stakeholders proposed a $500 fee charge for the ECOVISA to visit all 15 member states.
Meanwhile, experts at yesterday’s meeting called for a more realistic and affordable price for the visa in line with international standards.
Speaking to The Finder, Director, Free Movement of Persons, Migration and Tourism at the ECOWAS Commission, Albert Siaw-Boateng, stated that all recommendations from the stakeholders’ meeting were adopted, except the cost.
“In the research we realised that even with the Shengen area made up of 27 countries, to get the Shengen Visa issued in any of the ECOWAS member states, the average cost is between €80 and €120.
“So the meeting is for the experts to review the cost they proposed to ensure that it is in line with the laws of reciprocity and the cost of Shengen Visas,” he said.
The ECOVISA will cater for non-West Africans and operate similar to how the Shengen Visa works in the Shengen area in Europe.
It will allow entry into to a single, multiple or all 15 member state of ECOWAS which will contribute to boosting tourism and attracting foreign investors in the region.
The second day will discuss other technical issues related to the effective implementation of ECOVISA, such as infrastructure challenges and processes and procedures.
This two-day meeting will finalize the technical discussions and propose recommendations for validation and adoption in the upcoming Heads of Immigration meeting on May 25, 2023, and Sectorial Ministers Meeting respectively.
Recommendations from these meetings will be forwarded to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers for adoption and deployment of the ECOVISA by member states.
Participants at the meeting were representatives from relevant Ministries in charge of visa management and representatives of Immigration Services in ECOWAS Member States.