Six percent of Georgians traveling to the EU violated visa-free terms
Only six percent of Georgian citizens who traveled visa-free to the EU violated the terms of the agreement, said SIDA, an organization which gathered statistics over the last seven months.
According to Zviad Devdariani, the executive director of SIDA, the results makes one think about the situation. However, they’re not indicative of anything overtly bad.
During the research SIDA employees focused particularly on those that left for the EU who did not return to Tbilisi within the 90 days allotted. It was found that the majority originated either from Tbilisi or Imereti, a region in Western Georgia.
Devdariani says that it is necessary to conduct a serious information campaign during which every resident of the country will find out that violators of the visa-free travel agreement are hurting not only themselves but Georgia as a whole.
“Monthly analyses aren’t conducted, but, for example in Moldova, the percentage of those that did not return was about 16 percent when their visa free agreement first went into effect. Here in Georgia, it’s at six percent. A comparison of these indicators allows us to state that the situation in Georgia is not too worrisome. On the other hand, the estimated amount of violators should urge all ministries of the country to action,” says Devdariani.
Over the last seven months, 161 885 Georgian citizens made use of the new visa-free travel agreement, of which 9 875 violated the 90-day period. This data was published by the apparatus of the State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures.
The visa-free arrangement for Georgians traveling to the EU came into effect on 28 March 2017. Georgian citizens received the right to travel to 22 countries of the European Union and 4 countries that are in the process of applying for membership. The first passengers that traveled visa-free flew from Tbilisi to Warsaw on 28 March at 4:55 am.