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  • Protection of the Lithuanian-Belarusian Border and Migrants 5
    • 1.

      How is Lithuania's border protected from migrants?

      The state border is guarded by the guards of the State Border Guard Service and units of the Lithuanian Armed Forces assisting them. The state border is also monitored by video surveillance systems operated from the State Border Guard Service checkpoints.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 2.

      How do guards guarantee the safety of the public?

       

      To ensure security, actions in three directions are taken:

      1. the security of the campsite and persons accommodated in it is ensured by the officers of the Public Security Service as well as private security services, if necessary. The use of capacities is planned in such a way as to ensure order inside the campsite and to prevent the residents of the campsite from leaving it;

      2. an additional crew of police officers is deployed in the vicinity of the campsite and adjacent settlements to patrol and be ready to respond to any incidents or disturbances in the campsite, etc., and promptly join the search operation in case any resident escapes from the campsite;

      3. border guards and police officers intensify their cooperation with the local population and local authorities and get involved to the maximum extent possible in solving security problems, provide information on the situation to the people and community representatives. To that end, meetings are organised, communication via social networks is carried out, etc.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 3.

      How will Lithuania's border protection be strengthened?

      In order to maximise border protection, it is essential to ensure that the entire section of the border with Belarus is monitored using the latest technologies. Such decision is costly, but the Government of the Republic of Lithuania has already allocated an additional EUR 11.5 million for the installation of the surveillance systems. Within the next two years, there will be no more unprotected sections of border.

      Currently the capacities of the Public Security Service, the Police Department, the Riflemen's Union, the Lithuanian Armed Forces and FRONTEX are used to reinforce border protection.

      Lithuania has announced a state of emergency due to irregular migration. This allows for faster procurement and other procedures, coordination of actions and pooling of capacities. Government reserve funds can also be used if needed.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 4.

      What will happen if migrants continue to flow to Lithuania?

      Active actions:

      Lithuania is mobilising and will continue to mobilise both local and international capacities to the maximum extent possible. For the time being, irregular migrants are accommodated in the Foreigners' Registration Centre, checkpoints of the State Border Guard Service, some of them are temporarily (i.e. for the quarantine period) are accommodated in the premises provided by municipalities.

      The setting up of a tent camp and a hangar that meets the necessary humanitarian conditions, has already started. We will be able to accommodate more migrants, ensure their safety and the safety of the local population, as well as provide them with the necessary sanitation and food supplies.

      The State Border Guard Service is also currently in the process of acquiring modular houses. These houses could temporarily accommodate several hundred people.

      Measures having political effect:

      Lithuania is responding to the consequences by detaining and temporarily accommodating irregular migrants and by preventing the flow of migration through Lithuania. The aim is to stop migrants from choosing Lithuania as a suitable and convenient route leading to other Western European countries. Irregular migration first of all must be prevented in the countries of origin of these people. Cooperation with representatives of the EU, NATO, migrants' countries of origin, experts of FRONTEX and European Asylum Support Office (EASO), leaders of countries with the experience in dealing with irregular migrants related problems is aimed at preventing the flow of irregular migrants through Lithuania and speeding up their return to their countries of origin.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 5.

      Are there any plans to use international aid? How do/can other countries help us?

      FRONTEX officers have already embarked on their mission at the border, so have the Estonian officers. Cooperation with NGOs: the Red Cross and the Order of Malta. The situation is truly extraordinary, so it is very important for us all to come together to find the best solutions.
      A delegation set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will travel to Baghdad to speak with officials from that country. Meetings are held with organisations working in the field so as to equip our officers with as much knowledge as possible.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

  • Help of the Society 2
    • 1.

      What items can be donated to migrants and how?

      (a) Hygiene products (soap, shampoo, nappies and napkins for babies, hygiene products for women):
      -->Lithuanian Red Cross:
      deliver at: A. Juozapavičiaus Street 10A, Vilnius, Tuesdays to Thursdays, between 3 and 5 pm.
      Companies willing to donate larger amounts, please contact Linė Skirpstė, tel.: +370 684 88 456.
      -->Lietuvos Caritas:
      deliver at: Papilio Street 5, Kaunas, Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 3 pm, contact tel.: +370 673 22 327.
      Companies willing to donate larger amounts, please contact Justina Inkėnienė, tel.: +370 674 66 042.

      (b) Clothing (warm, winter clothing, boots, jackets, mostly for men):
      --> campaign by VšĮ Bendrystės ir socialinių inovacijų centras (Community and Social Innovation Centre) and VšĮ Sėkmės sodas (Garden of success): 
       Vilnius, the Church of Our Lady of Consolation, Savičiaus Street 15, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, between 1 and 5 p.m. For items to be delivered, please contact: +370 609 97 911, +370 615 39 223. 
      -> Lithuanian Red Cross:
      Šiauliai, Šiauliai Branch of the Lithuanian Red Cross, Vilniaus Street 130, 3rd floor, Šiauliai, Wednesdays between 3 and 5 pm, contact tel.: +370 610 20 907.
      Panevėžys, Panevėžys Branch of the Lithuanian Red Cross, Respublikos Street 38, 2nd floor, Panevėžys, Wednesdays, between 4 and 6 pm, contact tel.: +370 626 95 165.
      Klaipėda, Klaipėda Branch of the Lithuanian Red Cross, K. Donelaičio 21A, Klaipėda, Wednesdays, between 2 and 5 pm, contact tel.: +370 642 79 092.
      -->Lithuanian Caritas:
      Papilio Street, Kaunas, Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 3 pm, contact tel.: +370 673 22 327.
      Marijampolė, Bažnyčios Street 42, Help Centre Rūpintojėlis, Wednesdays, between 3 and 5 pm, contact tel.: +370 655 16 739.

      (c) Towels and bed linen (bedding and linen), household articles (tableware, utensils):
      -> Lithuanian Red Cross:
      Companies willing to donate larger amounts, please contact Linė Skirpstė at email: line.skirpste@redcross.lt, tel.: +370 684 88 456.
      -->Lithuanian Caritas:
      Papilio Street, Kaunas, Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 3 pm, contact tel.: +370 673 22 327.
      Marijampolė, Bažnyčios Street 42, Help Centre Rūpintojėlis, Wednesdays, between 3 and 5 pm, contact tel.: +370 655 16 739.
      Companies willing to donate larger amounts, please contact Justina Inkėnienė, tel.: +370 674 66 042.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 2.

      How can society help managing the migration crisis?

      Citizens, NGOs and businesses can contribute to the management of the irregular migration situation in the following ways:
      1. FINANCIALLY:
      (a) Supporting border guards with professional technical equipment and making arrangements for their rest.
      Organised by Laisvės TV. Donations are also welcome by transfer (Všį Laisvės TV, LT16 7300 0101 5692 7144, specification of donation: Hold on, border guards!), or Paypal (email: gabija@laisves.tv, specified: ‘Hold on, border guards!). For more information, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/laisvestv/posts/2941081589483190.

      (b) Support for the basic needs of vulnerable people.
      Organised by the Lithuanian Red Cross on behalf of all the partner organisations (Caritas, Order of Malta, Food Bank (Maisto Bankas), Lithuanian Scouts, Artscape, Save the Children, Diversity Development Group and the Refugee Council). Support link:
      https://donation.redcross.lt/zmogiskumassvarbiausia.

      2. MATERIAL ITEMS:
      (a) Hygiene products (soap, shampoo, nappies and napkins for babies, hygiene products for women):
      -> Lithuanian Red Cross:
      delivery address: A. Juozapavičiaus Street 10A, Vilnius, Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 3 and 5 pm.
      For companies willing to donate larger amounts, please contact Linė Skirpstė, tel.: +370 684 88 456.
      -->Lithuanian Caritas:
      delivery address: Papilio Street 5, Kaunas, Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 3 pm, contact tel.: +370 673 22 327.
      For companies willing to donate larger amounts, please contact Justina Inkėnienė, tel.: +370 674 66 042.

      (b) Clothing (warm, winter clothing, boots, jackets, mostly for men):

      -> campaign by VšĮ Bendrystės ir socialinių inovacijų centras (Community and Social Innovation Centre) and VšĮ Sėkmės sodas (Garden of success): 
      Vilnius, the Church of Our Lady of Consolation, Savičiaus Street 15, Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, between 1 and 5 p.m. For items to be delivered, please contact: +370 609 97 911, +370 615 39 223. 
      -> Lithuanian Red Cross:
      Šiauliai, Šiauliai Branch of the Lithuanian Red Cross, Vilniaus Street 130, 3rd floor, Šiauliai, Wednesdays, between 3 and 5 pm, contact tel.: +370 610 20 907.
      Panevėžys, Panevėžys Branch of the Lithuanian Red Cross, Respublikos Street 38, 2nd floor, Panevėžys, Wednesdays, between 4 and 6 pm, contact tel.: +370 626 95 165.
      Klaipėda, Klaipėda Branch of the Lithuanian Red Cross, K. Donelaičio 21A, Klaipėda, Wednesdays, between 2 and 5 pm, contact tel.: +370 642 79 092.
      -->Lithuanian Caritas:
      Papilio Street 5, Kaunas, Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 3 pm, contact tel.: +370 673 22 327.
      Marijampolė, Bažnyčios Street 42, Help Centre Rūpintojėlis, Wednesdays, between 3 and 5 pm, contact tel.: +370 655 16 739.

      (c) Towels and bed linen (bedding and linen), household articles (tableware, utensils):
      -> Lithuanian Red Cross:
      Companies willing to donate larger amounts, please contact Linė Skirpstė at email: line.skirpste@redcross.lt, tel.: +370 684 88 456.
      -->Lithuanian Caritas:
      Papilio Street, Kaunas, Monday to Friday, between 10 am and 3 pm, contact tel.: +370 673 22 327.
      Marijampolė, Bažnyčios Street 42, Help Centre Rūpintojėlis, Wednesdays, between 3 and 5 pm, contact tel.: +370 655 16 739.
      Companies willing to donate larger amounts, please contact Justina Inkėnienė, tel.: +370 674 66 042.

      (d) Long life foods:
      --> Food Bank (Maisto bankas), Vytenio Street 54, Vilnius, contact person: Dovilė Kovalskytė, email: dovile@maistobankas.lt, tel.: +370 653 42 480.

      3. VOLUNTARY WORK:
      a) Translators: from Kurdish (Kurmanji and Sorani dialects), Arabic, Tamil, French, Russian, Chechen, Tajik, and English. Translation should be from the indicated languages into English or directly into Lithuanian, on case-by-case basis. Please contact the Migration Department at email:
      berta.didike@migracija.gov.lt, tel.: +370 5 219 8454.

      b) Elves are people who help to search for harmful content and fake news on the Internet and thus fight false information. Organised by VšĮ Debunk EU, registration: https://www.debunkeu.org/volunteering.

      c) Distribution of support, social assistance, helping to clean the area, animations or work with children:
      Lithuanian Red Cross: https://www.redcross.lt/savanoriaukite;


      Caritas: https://www.caritas.lt/page/savanoryst36;
      Order of Malta Relief Organisation: https://maltieciai.lt/tapkmaltieciu-savanoriu;
      Maisto bankas (Food Bank): https://www.maistobankas.lt/savanoriubendruomene/;
      Arts agency Artscape : http://artscape.lt/.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

  • General Information 6
    • 1.

      What is the statistics on the arriving migrants (number of persons, number of asylum applications, number of returns, etc.)?

      As at 26 August 2021, the number of pending applications was 1 401, including 255 cases of discontinued examination, and 237 of refused asylum.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 2.

      From which countries do most migrants come?

      Most people who have crossed the Belarus-Lithuania border are from Iraq, Congo, Cameroon, Syria, Russia, Iran and Afghanistan.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 3.

      Are all refugees economic migrants?

      Not all refugees are economic migrants. It cannot be ruled out that there may be people in need of political asylum in the entire flow of migrants. Once the Migration Department has identified such persons, their applications will be examined as to substance in accordance with general procedure, while ensuring that no asylum seeker in need of protection is returned to the persecuting country. Until now, all the asylum applications by migrants who have crossed the border illegally (with the exception of Belarusian nationals) have been found unfounded.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 4.

      Who is an economic migrant?

      An economic migrant is a person who chooses to leave their country in order to improve their own well-being and prospects, and those of their family.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 5.

      Who is a refugee?

      Refugee means a person who has been granted refugee status , owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, who does not hold the nationality of the respective country, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to the country of habitual residence.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 6.

      Who is an asylum seeker?

      Asylum seeker is a person who was forced to leave their country due to various threats to their life or health and who comes to another country for protection and applies for asylum in order to obtain refugee or subsidiary protection status.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

  • Irregular Migrants' Reception 6
    • 1.

      What is the procedure for admitting migrants below the age of majority?

      If the asylum seeker is a minor, the initial steps are carried out in the presence of at least one of his/her parents (adoptive parents) or a legal representative with whom the minor asylum seeker has arrived in Lithuania. If the asylum seeker is an unaccompanied minor, the initial steps are carried out in the presence of an authorised representative and a representative of the children's rights protection authority.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 2.

      What happens to migrants when they enter the territory of Lithuania? What actions are taken?

      All foreigners are tested for COVID-19 and isolated pending the test results. In the meantime, the circumstances of the migrants' entry into Lithuania are being clarified, investigations are being carried out, and the issue of accommodation for the detainees is being addressed.

      Majority of migrants who have crossed the Lithuanian border illegally apply for asylum.

      The Migration Department is informed of the asylum applicants and examines their applications to decide whether there are grounds for granting asylum. So far, none of them has been granted asylum. If there are no grounds for granting asylum, the return of irregular migrants to their country of origin is organised. The situation is aggravated by the fact that many of these persons arrive without any documents.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 3.

      How is the freedom of religion guaranteed for the refugees? Must this right be guaranteed?

      Camps usually have separate areas dedicated to religious practices, and if such areas are not provided, practising people arrange for them themselves. For example, in Foreigners’ Registration Centre (FRC), one tent was dedicated to prayer, in other camps, people make arrangements themselves to the extent possible.
      Freedom of religion is one of the fundamental human rights. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief, and freedom to practise and profess religion, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, in prayer service, in religious teaching, practising it and holding religious services.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 4.

      What do migrants do in the camps? What is their daily routine?

      The freedom of movement of migrants in the camps is restricted, which means that they cannot leave the camp. There is not much they can do in the camps: people wash clothes, clean their environment, if the weather is good and the area is appropriate, they play outdoor or board games delivered to them, children draw a lot and do other activities that can be done in the camp.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 5.

      Are migrant families accommodated together? Can migrant children be separated from their parents?

      Migrant families are always accommodated together. Children cannot be separated from their parents. 

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 6.

      How long will migrants stay in Lithuania? Will they be able to obtain Lithuanian citizenship?

      An irregular migrant will remain in Lithuania until their situation or asylum application is examined. A regular migrant can exercise the right to return to a foreign country voluntarily at any time, including the possibility of receiving financial support (travel tickets, a lump sum of EUR 300).
      An alien can be granted a Lithuanian citizenship through naturalisation provided they legally resided in Lithuania for the last 10 years and meet other requirements established by law.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

  • Asylum Application and Returning Procedures 5
    • 1.

      How and which migrants will be integrated into the society?

      If a foreigner is granted asylum, he/she is subject to social integration in accordance with the procedure laid down by legislation. An individual integration plan is drawn up, the appropriate assistance is granted, the necessary educational, social, psychological and health care services are provided or the provision of the aforementioned services is ensured.

      During the initial integration period (up to 3 months which can be extended to 6 months for vulnerable groups), the asylum seeker is provided with free accommodation, a job search and the assessment of personal qualities and qualifications is initiated and a monthly allowance for food and petty expenses (EUR 87.5) is granted; an allowance for the purchase of essential school supplies (EUR 58.5) is granted to school-age children, a monthly allowance for the costs of pre-school and/or pre-primary education (EUR 62.4) is paid, free courses of the Lithuanian language and culture are organised, and basic necessities such as clothing, footwear and bedding are provided.

      After the initial integration period, integration support is provided in the municipality where a person chooses to live (for a period of 12 months, which can be extended to 36 months for vulnerable groups).

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 2.

      What happens to migrants who have not been granted a refugee status but do not want to leave the country?

      If asylum is not granted in Lithuania, the foreigner is offered to return voluntarily to his/her country of origin taking the advantage of the assistance provided, and if he/she rejects the offer, he/she is removed from Lithuania.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 3.

      How long does it take to process a migrant's asylum application? What procedure is applied?

      If a foreigner is seeking asylum in Lithuania but has entered into the country or stays in it illegally, he/she must apply for asylum in person without delay.

      The asylum application must be motivated, stating all the facts and reasons why he/she needs asylum in Lithuania. Following the receipt of asylum application of a foreigner, an initial interview with the asylum seeker is carried out. During the interview, the asylum seeker is required to present all available documents, the interviewer takes his/her fingerprints and carries out an initial assessment of vulnerability of a person. The initial interview is carried out in the asylum seeker's mother tongue or in the language which the asylum seeker understands best, with the assistance of an interpreter if necessary. The purpose of the initial interview is to gather information about the asylum seeker, clarify the reasons for the application and the situation in the country of origin.

      The Migration Department issues a Foreignerˈs Registration Certificate to an asylum seeker of any age who has the right to remain on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, which confirms that the holder thereof is an asylum seeker who has the right to remain on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania.

      After receiving the asylum application of the foreigner and other documents, the Migration Department may decide:

      • not to examine the asylum application. The decision not to examine an asylum application shall be taken within a period of 48 hours, which may be extended by up to 3 working days;
      • not to examine the asylum application on its merits and transfer the asylum seeker to another European Union (EU) Member State;
      • examine the asylum application on its merits as a matter of urgency if the asylum seeker has come from a safe country of origin, has provided in his/her application only information which is not relevant for the examination of whether he/she is eligible for asylum, has provided misleading information or forged documents, has not provided any information at all, has refused to allow his/her fingerprints to be taken, may be deemed for serious reasons to constitute a threat to the State's security or public order.

      A decision on the asylum application which is examined taking into account its merits as a matter of urgency is taken within a period of 7 working days, which may be extended by no more than 3 working days.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 4.

      How long does it take to return migrants to their countries of origin and why?

      The timing of removal of foreign nationals can vary considerably from one country to another.

      The whole procedure may last from 5 days to several months, depending on whether the foreigners have travel documents or not and the complexity of the transportation route (COVID-19 situation).

      The fact that the foreigner is or is not in possession of a travel document has a significant impact on the implementation of the return/removal procedure. If the foreigner does not have a travel document, a readmission procedure is implemented (in case an agreement with the foreign country is signed) or correspondence with the embassy of the country of origin is carried out in order to obtain a travel document for the foreigner. It can take up to 6 months to obtain a travel document (depending on whether the foreigner has provided correct information about his/her identity and whether the embassy is cooperative). When air services are used for transportation, tickets are purchased with a certain status of DEPU (unaccompanied departure) or DEPA (accompanied departure).

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 5.

      Why are migrants returned to their countries of origin? What procedure is applied?

      Decisions on the return (voluntary or forced) of foreigners are taken if their stay in Lithuania is illegal (a foreigner does not have a visa, residence permit, or if his/her asylum procedure is over).

      There are two ways of returning a migrant:

      1. Voluntary return takes place when a foreigner cooperates with the competent authorities and agrees to return voluntarily to the country of origin. Then a decision may be taken to return the foreigner to the country of origin and a period of time may be set within which the foreigner is to comply with the decision and return to the country of origin (the period is set at up to 30 days, which may be extended by another 30 days).

      Currently, Lithuania offers the payment of a cash allowance of EUR 300 to foreigners who agree to return voluntarily to their country of origin and, in cooperation with the European agency FRONTEX, provides them with travel tickets to their country of origin.

      2. Forced return (removal) is carried out when a foreigner stays in Lithuania illegally and refuses to return home voluntarily when offered. A decision on removal may then be taken. The removal procedure consists of a preparation phase (identification of risk factors, selection of the return route, selection of escort officers, booking of tickets, coordination of transits) and an implementation phase (briefing of the escort officer, transfer of a foreigner to the airport, boarding, flight, handing over of a foreigner to the competent authorities of the country of origin).

      The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also assists in returning the migrants who have not obtained a refugee status. It organises voluntary return and reintegration programme for migrants who voluntarily decide to return home but do not have the means (financial) or need assistance to leave.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

  • Financing 4
    • 1.

      How much does boarder protection and barrier building cost?

      Preliminary project estimate is EUR 152 million, but it may change depending on the pace of construction, market prices of materials and similar reasons.
      According to the preliminary calculations from the Ministry of the Interior and the SBGS submitted to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the protective barrier must be at least 3 m high, made of metal, weather-resistant, and partly built in the ground.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 2.

      What are additional migrant-related costs? What is bought for migrants additionally?  Who bears the cost?

      Additional costs include asylum procedures, installation and maintenance of additional accommodation (renting of modular houses, building campsites), protection of accommodation sites, medical aid, etc. Also, as the cold season approaches, purchases include additional warm clothes, blankets, etc.
      The Ministry of Social Security and Labour takes care of vulnerable individuals and their accommodation; municipalities take care of those accommodated in municipal premises, while other migrants are taken care of the SBGS and other institutions within the jurisdiction of the Minister of the Interior.
      Additional costs are currently covered from the state budget appropriations allocated to these institutions, also from the state reserve. The largest part of the costs is expected to be covered by the AMIF emergency aid facility.
      NGOs play a significant part in helping and attending to the migrants.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 3.

      What is the daily cost per migrant? Who bears the cost? What does this cost per migrant include?

      According to the calculations of the State Border Guard Service (SBGS), the daily cost per migrant is about 30 euros. Accommodation of migrants is paid from the AMIF emergency aid facility and the state budget of the Republic of Lithuania.
      These costs include meals, provision of personal hygiene items, bedding and medical supplies, laundry services, cash benefits for asylum seekers, translation and legal services, maintenance costs for buildings, utility bills, salaries of officials and staff, etc.

      Updated: 2021 09 09

    • 4.

      Who pays for the return of migrants? How much it costs? What does the cost of return include?

      The return of migrants is paid from the funds of the European Union Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX). Once the AMIF funds are exhausted, the return would be paid from the state budget of the Republic of Lithuania.
      Voluntary returnees will receive a cash benefit of EUR 300.
      The return costs per person depend on the country to which the person is returned, also on the carrier, ticket prices, etc. An unescorted return to Iraq costs on average around EUR 1 000 (including the cash allowance of EUR 300, plane tickets, transportation to the airport).
      Vulnerable people need an escort, which costs on average around EUR 4 000

      Updated: 2021 09 09