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2021.12.08 12:30

Lithuania triples payouts to migrants for voluntary return

BNS2021.12.08 12:30

Lithuania's Interior Ministry has tripled payouts offered to irregular migrants who agree to be returned to their home countries. Instead of 300 euros, they will be entitled to 1,000, the ministry announced on Wednesday.

“Sending back migrants to their country of origin is a complex and long process. One migrant's maintenance costs 11,000 euros a year for Lithuania and that is a really major burden for the state. We are looking for ways to encourage people to return voluntarily and we hope that bigger payouts will increase the number of people choosing to return,” Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė was quoted in the statement.

Read more: Migration crisis in Baltics and Poland

She added that most of the money would come from the European Commission's financial assistance for Lithuania to manage the migration crisis.

The Migration Department has also finished processing asylum requests from migrants who crossed into Lithuania from Belarus over last summer and September, the Interior Ministry said.

Of the 3,272 asylum requests, only 54 were successful. The remaining asylum seekers face deportation to their countries of origin. Asylum has been granted to citizens of Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Eritrea and Afghanistan. They will be issued residence permits in Lithuania and will be included into the integration program.

Around 610 appeals have been lodged regarding the Migration Department's decisions not to grant asylum, and courts have so far not satisfied a single appeal.

Bilotaitė says this proves that “the majority of migrants who came to Lithuania are not true asylum seekers and the Migration Department's decisions not to grant asylum were justified”.

The 1,000-euro payouts will be offered until January 20 and will only apply to migrants who are now in Lithuania, the ministry said.

Up until now, the State Border Guard Service (VSAT) was paying 300 euros to migrants who agreed to go home.

So far, around 400 migrants have been sent out of Lithuania, including 345 people who agreed to return home voluntarily.

More than 4,200 irregular migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus so far this year. Nearly 7,900 more have been turned away since August when Lithuanian border guards launched pushbacks.

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