Registration of migrants completed: efforts to speed up asylum processing


2021 09 22


To date, a total of 2 962 illegal migrants have been registered and 2 804 asylum applications filed, as reported by the Migration Department and the SBGS. 517 cases are unregistered, as some of the migrants have refused registration and did not apply for asylum, while others are COVID-19 patients and under quarantine. 164 migrants have been returned from Lithuania to their countries of origin, including voluntary returns with financial support from the state, or removals. To date, another 55 migrants have expressed their intention to return voluntarily to their country of origin. 

Between the beginning and August of 2021, i.e., before the amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, irregular migrants had been able to move freely from and to the Foreigners’ Registration Centre or the Refugee Reception Centre or an alternative accommodation site, if they so wished. This freedom has been restricted through legislative amendments.

Between the beginning of the year and the enactment of the amendments strictly restraining the freedom of movement of migrants, 500 cases of leaving the accommodation site were identified by migrant registration officers, 123 were subsequently brought back from the Polish border. This confirms that migrants who have crossed the Lithuanian border illegally are basically interested in Lithuania not as a country of asylum but as a passage point to a better off world in Europe.

The legislative amendments have brought changes in the free movement of migrants: officers from the police, the State Border Guard Service and the Public Security Service started guarding the camps. The number of escapees has been thus reduced to a minimum.

The introduction of push-back measures has resulted in 2 576 cases of denied entry for those having attempted to cross the Belarus-Lithuania border illegally.

Speeding up asylum processing

The Migration Department reports that 620 asylum applications have already been processed, but none of the irregular migrants has been granted asylum. As it has transpired, most of the migrants are seeking better life in richer countries rather than fleeing persecution or other unbearable hardships, and thus fail to qualify for asylum.

Where a migrant is granted asylum, their integration is taken care of by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour.
 In the opposite case, removal procedures are initiated through cooperation with the countries of origin. Migrants concerned continue to be regarded as irregular arrivals who were denied entry to Lithuania. They can also leave voluntarily and get EUR 300 in state support. Return procedures are also initiated for those who have not applied for asylum. They can also leave voluntarily.

According to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, migrants that currently cross the border illegally will be housed in closed centres for six months with no right to leave the campgrounds. After this deadline, any further detention of an irregular migrant should be decided by a court.

Increased attention to vulnerable people

The registration has shown that three out of four migrants are men, and one in four is a minor. There are about 500 children under the age of 10 and about 850 minors between the ages of 10 and 18. Single men account for 1 700, single women - 300, and unaccompanied minors - 150.  Most of the arrivals are from Iraq, i.e., 2 800, and arrivals from Syria, Congo, Cameroon account for more than 100 per each country. Other countries of origin include India, Iran, Afghanistan, Guinea, Sri Lanka, and several others.

The migrant accommodation plan takes into account the vulnerability aspect.

The accommodation of the most vulnerable migrants (families with young children, unaccompanied minors, pregnant women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly) is taken care of by the Refugee Reception Centre under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. The plans are to relocate them early October to modular houses or other premises in the Refugee Reception Centre in Rukla, also to a former hostel in Vilnius. Children will be able to resume their education, and families will be able to do their own cooking.