The Lithuanian Migration Department has sent out mobile teams to migrant camps, informing asylum seekers of the procedures they face and possibilities to return to their countries of origin.
“One of the goals of this group and other groups that will come later is to explain to them [migrants] again, through professional interpreters, what awaits them,” Evelina Gudzinskaitė, the department's director, told reporters in a migrant camp in Vydeniai, a village in the southern district of Varėna.
She noted, however, that migrants in the camps often do not trust public authorities.
“They think we are lying to them and they still believe that, after a while, they'll be able to leave Lithuania for Europe,” she said.
According to Gudzinskaitė, migrants usually tell officials that they are seeking a better life in Europe. Even those who claim to be persecuted say they have suffered persecution by neighbours or their spouse's parents or other relatives. They say they cannot find jobs back home and are looking for more dignified living conditions.
The department has so far processed over 200 asylum applications, but has rejected all of them.
Migration officials are working to process requests as swiftly as possible, Gudzinskaitė said, adding that several dozen applications, including from Afghans, have been put aside for more detailed examination.
Among other things, the mobile teams inform migrants that Lithuania offers 300-euro payments if they agree to return home. Currently, 15 to 20 people are seriously considering this possibility, according to Gudzinskaitė.
Over 4,100 irregular migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus so far this year.