Algeria summoned France s ambassador after the French government s pledge to slash the visas number available to nationals from Maghreb countries. (Shutterstock)
France on Tuesday had said it would sharply reduce the number of visas granted to people from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, accusing the former French colonies of not doing enough to allow illegal immigrants to return.
French ambassador Francois Gouyette was handed "a formal protest" from Algiers which called the visa reduction an "unfortunate act" that caused "confusion and ambiguity as to its motivation and its scope".
Morocco has described France's decision as "unjustified".
Unlike its neighbours, Tunisia has not reacted officially, but many of its citizens displayed their concern Wednesday in front of the offices of TLS Contact, the only private company authorised to receive applications for France.
On Tuesday, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told Europe 1 radio that it was "a drastic decision, and unprecedented, but one made necessary by the fact that these countries are refusing to take back nationals who we do not want or cannot keep in France".
The station said French President Emmanuel Macron took the decision a month ago after failed diplomatic efforts with the three North African countries.