Nigeria Immigrants in Spain: A MATTER OF URGENCY

A MATTER OF URGENCY, Nigerian immigrants in Spain are groaning over the tough conditions put in place by that country’s immigration service, the ineptitude of the Nigeria government and the corrupt Nigeria police, who rip off Nigerians desperate to apply for residency and citizenship.

Today in Spain, to apply for citizenship and residency, every applicant from Nigeria must obtain a report, some kind of background check, from the Nigeria police which should not be more than three months old. You can get residency through marriage to a Spanish citizen, or if you have resided in that country for 10 years you can apply. But the catch is, to be eligible, one of the toughest requirement is the submission of a background check report from Nigeria, which would be verified by the Spanish Embassy in Nigeria.

Annually, a team of Nigeria police officers travel to Spain for this curious exercise of collecting data, which include finger prints, photographs and current passports. They usually set up shops in major cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao. The fee for each application: 180 Euros. learnt that the tedious and lengthy procedure to scale the hurdle of police report, has deprived thousands of Nigerians the opportunity to get legal papers or become citizens.

Checks by reveal that the process takes about six months, therefore by the time the reports gets back to Madrid it is invalid, since the report is expected to be no older than three months. So next year the police return, collect another round of 180 euros from hundreds of immigrants only for the documents to return to Spain late, and the circle starts all over.

A Nigerian resident, Oscar Asuimwita Samuel told that some immigrants are compelled by circumstance, to pay the 180 euros multiple times. He however said that some residents take trips to Nigeria to get it done themselves. He said “ issue is most of these applicants cant travel out. They have no jobs, so they are stuck. However only very few who are residents can afford to travel to Nigeria to follow up the process and bring it back themselves”

The procedure goes thus: the police officers take the data to Nigeria, do the background checks, send the documents to the Spanish embassy in Nigeria, they check them out, and send them down to the Spanish External Affairs ministry. Final leg is the ministry sends them to the Nigeria Embassy in Madrid, which does a shabby job of alerting the successful ones. learnt that the Embassy simple dumps the mostly expired police reports in African market or adhoc officials of the Nigeria community association.

According to Samuel who has been a resident for 13 years but yet to scale the hurdle of police report, a prerequisite for citizenship application, said “ the Nigeria Police are interested in the 180euros. It is the most expensive when it come to getting official documents here. Even to renew your passport, the Embassy asks for 45 euros for birth certificate. “

Samuel who blamed the Nigeria Embassy for not working in the interest of Nigerians said “ The Spanish government says it must be three months max, but by the time the reports get here it is six months old. So the 180 euros you paid is gone, you have to wait for them to return, you pay again, and again, some people have been on this for four five years. They cant work. They have been married, but to complete your application you need that report. If the Nigeria government is responsible they should insist the validity is extended to six months.” they give the Spanish the excuse to deny our people residency and citizenship. “

(culled from facebook : )

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