Manning agencies who are often faced with the challenges of going through the complex Schengen visa application process have received expert advice and knowledge thanks to a workshop held by BCS Group – Boers Crew Services following Crew Connect Global.
The Dutch crew specialist company held its own event last Friday (November 25), with selected manning agencies to offer support and expert knowledge covering the complex visa applications process.
More than 150 people attended the ‘Schengen state Visa for seafarer’ two-hour session, which covered lack of appointments, letter of invitation, complaints to the Embassy, and other issues that may arise when applying for a Schengen visa.
Delays with applying for visas can often lead to issues with crew supply and in recent months crew changes have even been cancelled because the visa applications have not been approved on time.
The event demonstrates Boers’ commitment to helping facilitate crew changes as quickly and efficiently as possible and keeping seafarers’ time in ports to a minimum.
Common questions raised during the workshop included: how to get an earlier appointment at the Visa Facilitation Service; where can I apply for Schengen state visa; what are the rules for tramping vessels; why do Schengen state countries have different rules; and is a visa on arrival still possible?
Hans Boers, Group Director and co-owner at Boers, said: “We held a fantastic event with more than 150 staff from manning agencies who attended to learn how to avoid long delays when applying for a Schengen visa.
“There are often many challenges and delays when applying for a Schengen visa and we believe having open communication with the different agencies involved, really helps streamline the whole process. It is often a challenge for companies to get documents in on time, which is a significant factor in delays.
“We are here 24/7 to solve any issues around applying for the visa and it is all about collaboration between crew supply companies, us, the seafarer, and their families.
“We felt it was important to hold this event because we can share our knowledge and warn people of the pitfalls that can end up causing delays. Crew changes have been cancelled due to seafarers not being granted their visas, so it really is a big issue that is having a real impact on the crew supply crisis. “
Group Director and co-owner Peter Smit was part of the Crew Supply Forum debate during Crew Connect Global where he discussed the importance of communication and collaboration between all the agencies involved in the visa application process.