Turkey to require visa applicants’ fingerprints in some countries

Turkey to require visa applicants’ fingerprints in some countries

Turkey to require visa applicants’ fingerprints in some countries

As part of efforts to prevent irregular migration, Turkey will require fingerprints from applicants of Turkish visas, starting from African nations, Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı has said.

Some foreign nationals arrive in Turkey through legal ways, but they overstay their visas, he noted.

“Moreover, some migrants destroy their IDs or passports once they are in Turkey which makes it impossible to identify their nationalities. Now, we are sending fingerprint scanners to the locations particularly in Africa where Turkish visas are issued,” Çataklı said.

From now on, fingerprints will be registered during visa applications and officials will be able to identify people even if they have destroyed their documents, according to Çataklı.

Those efforts are likely to help authorizes greatly prevent “regular migration from becoming irregular migration,” he said.

Turkey is home to more than 5 million migrants, and 3.7 million of them are Syrians.

Çataklı also informed that security forces prevented 451,000 people from illegally entering the country through its borders in 2021.

In 2021, nearly 163,000 irregular migrants were caught inside the country while in the first two months of this year, some 24,000 irregular migrants were apprehended, according to data from the Presidency of Migration Management.

Most of the irregular migrants captured last year were Afghan nationals at 70,300, followed by Syrians at 23,500. A little more than 16,000 Pakistani irregular migrants were also caught in 2021.

The number of irregular migrants captured peaked in 2019 at 455,000 and declined to 122,000 people in the following year.

Çataklı also said that 486,000 Syrians had returned to the areas where the Turkish military conducted operations against terrorists.

There are efforts underway to improve the documentation of the addresses of people living in Turkey under temporary protection, according to the official.

“Announcements will be made for those groups of migrants to inform authorities about any change of address. The temporary protection status of those who fail to do so within two months will be suspended. We need to have updated information on this,” Çataklı said.

Those whose temporary protection status was suspended will not be able to benefit from public services, he explained.

Çataklı was responding to suggestions that there were more than 3.7 million Syrians in the country as some of them might be unregistered.

“It is not possible that there are more Syrians than this figure. They are very keen about getting registered with authorities. Why would they avoid it?” Çataklı said.

He also noted that a recently introduced policy to put a cap on foreign population within local communities does not violate the existing regulation and international laws.

According to this policy, if the population of foreigners exceed 25 percent of total population in provinces, neighborhoods and districts, those locations will be closed to the further settlement of foreign nationals.