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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT IRREGULAR MIGRANTS DETAINED AT THE BORDER WITH BELARUS

1. How many irregular migrants have entered Lithuania?

Information of 12th of August.

The number of irregular arrivals through the border with Belarus has reached 4 115 in 2021.

The number of irregular arrivals this year increased 55 times compared to last year and 110 times compared to 2019 (It was 37 in 2019 and 74 in 2020).

Migratory influx in July was particularly alarming (almost 3 thousand). In one day of July, the number of irregular migrants compares to the number for whole year of 2020 and 2019 taken together.

Please, find here updated statistics on irregular migrants.

 

2. What is the initial country of origin of the arriving migrants? 

Information of 12th of August.

Irakas: 2 797

Kongas: 200

Kamerūnas: 131

Sirija: 130

Iranas: 91

Rusija: 91

Kita: 87

Afganistanas: 83

Gvinėja: 79

Šri Lanka: 67

Baltarusija: 65 m

Indija: 62

Nigerija: 30

Turkija: 25

Togas: 25

Dramblio Kaulo Krantas: 23

Pakistanas: 23

Kongo Demokratinė Respublika: 19

Malis: 19

Gambija: 18

Tadžikistanas: 17

Somaliai: 17

Senegalas: 16

 

3. What are the reasons of migrants flow? 

We believe this trend – growing amount of irregular migrants – is heavily affected by several circumstances:

  • General political tension. Lithuania is very supportive to the opposition and is advocating for democratic elections in Belarus.
  • At the same time, the dictator of Belarus openly threatens to allow migrants and drugs to flood into the EU and claims that due to the EU sanctions, Belarus has neither money, nor forces for stopping the migration.
  • Belarus authorities do not cooperate on operational level; quite in contrary, there is a reason to believe that border guards are fully aware of migrant smuggling and do nothing to stop it. There is reason to believe that Belarus officials facilitate illegal transportation of migrants across the EU border. There is also some physical evidence – some of the irregular migrants come to Belarus with travel visa (there are visa stamps in their passports) and then cross Lithuanian border.
  • Migrant smugglers exploit several flight directions from Iraq (4 times per week) and Turkey (every day).

 

4. What happens to irregular migrants as they arrive in Lithuania? 

Migrants who crossed Lithuanian border irregularly are being temporarily accommodated in the Foreigners Registration Center (URC) and are subject to legal proceedings.

All foreigners are tested for COVID-19 while they are isolated. At that time, the circumstances of migrants entering Lithuania are being clarified, research is being carried out, and the issue of accommodation is being resolved.

Many irregular migrants who have crossed the Lithuanian border apply for asylum.

Migration Department examines these applications and decides whether there are grounds for granting them asylum. So far, no migrants have been granted asylum. If there are no grounds for granting asylum, illegal migrants are returned to their country of origin. Each individual case is assessed and decided on a case-by-case basis.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that many of these individuals arrive without any documents.

Migrants may also voluntarily request to be returned to their countries of origin at any time. In this case, they will receive a free flight tickets and given € 300 in cash as pocketmoney.

 

5. Where are all those migrants relocated?

Irregular migrants are being accommodated in different locations. Part of migrants are located in the camp of the Foreigners Registration Center (URC), part of them are located in border crossing points, part of them are located at border municipalities. 

 

6. What measures have been taken to strengthen Lithuanian border?

First, we reinforced our border control to prevent the chaotic illegal crossings.

This we have done on 3 fronts:

  • we mobilised the human resources - both law enforcement authorities and military;
  • we carry out installation of border surveillance systems in most vulnerable border sections;
  • and we started setting up a physical barrier.

Second, we keep increasing our reception capacities. The reception capacities reach the limits very quickly and we need to find new solutions again and again. We are also increasing the number of staff in the Migration Department. This will help us to handle asylum cases in shortest possible time, to avoid bottlenecks and prevent the backlog.

Third, on July 2nd, we announced a state-wide emergency situation on the grounds of mass migratory influx. 

Fourth, we requested for support from the European Commission and 3 EU Agencies –

  • Frontex (119 officers, 36 patrol cars and 2 helicopters in Lithuania),
  • EASO and Europol,
  • as well as for activation of Union Civil Protection Mechanism (activated on July 15).

To date, 16 EU Member States, Norway, United States and Ukraine have offered support. Most of it is already delivered to Lithuania.

Fith, since August 2nd, we have put in place new border protection measures. People are allowed to cross the State border only through border checkpoints. The measures in place show positive developments, the number of irregular arrivals has stabilized. This is a very important measure, as we are repeatedly reaching the limits of our reception capacities.

Last updated: 12-08-2021