By Anayat Durrani
The ongoing political unrest in Iran has many countries reevaluating their relations and policies toward the country. However, within the global migration industry, various country policies toward Iranian visa applicants appear to be, for the most part, unimpacted.
Mass protests in Iran were sparked after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old, who died while under police custody for being accused of improperly wearing a headscarf. Amini’s death and the severe crackdown on protests in Iran have drawn international condemnation for Iran's rulers. Human rights activists estimate that more than 10,000 people have been arrested and 250 killed.
In response to human right’s violations in Iran, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced new sanctions on nationals from Iran. She said in a statement that national visas may be issued to holders of service and diplomatic passports only when deemed necessary. Other restrictions may also be imposed on members of Iranian organizations chosen by the European Union.
"There can be no 'business as usual' in bilateral relations with a state that treats its own citizens with such contempt for human rights," said Baerbock in the statement.
Germany also imposed additional restrictions on existing business relations with Iranian banks.
Issuing visas to Iranian nationals
Several embassies in Iran denied an earlier report circulating that they have halted issuing visas to Iranian nationals. The French Embassy in Tehran rejected reports that it suspended processing visa applications for citizens of Iran. A statement published by the embassy on Twitter, stated that “France still issues visas in Iran.”
Other countries are also not posing any restrictions on visas for Iranian nationals.
“For the moment, the Portuguese government didn’t introduce any visa restrictions on Iranian citizens, besides the ones that are already in place by the European Union Visa code or for people that are under the sanction lists,” says Tiago Gali Macedo, managing partner of NEXT/Gali Macedo & Associados in Portugal.
Macedo says the Portuguese program is popular with Iranian investors and has been for a long time, “thus, it is fair to say that the demand continues high since it was already.”
Saint Lucia in the Caribbean resumed accepting applications from Iranian nationals to its citizenship by investment program again in September after a several years ban.
Theodoros N. Spanos, attorney at Spanos - Fouskarinis & Associates Law Firm in Greece says there are currently no restrictions in Greece for Iranian citizens. He said he has witnessed some increase in Iranian applicants.
“Right now they are only restricted by the bank system and it's harder for them to remit money from Iran,” says Spanos.
Orhan Yavuz Mavioglu, attorney at Mavioglu & Alkan Law Office (ADMD) in Turkey, says Turkey has likewise not imposed any changes on Iranian applicants.
“Iranians have already been among the top CBI applicants in Turkey for the last five years as a neighboring nation,” says Mavioglu. “There has been no significant change.”
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