On Sunday, January 2, 98 Iraqi citizens left Lithuania for a charter flight, agreeing to return to their homeland. This is the first such charter flight from Lithuania for persons returning to their country of origin who have crossed the Lithuanian border illegally because they have not been granted asylum.
“Since the beginning of the migration crisis, Lithuania have been working very closely with partners in the European Union (EU), maintaining regular contact with the Iraqi Government and appreciating its constructive cooperation in issuing documents to Iraqi citizens wishing to return. These people have been deceived by the undemocratic regime in Belarus. “We understand that the flow of illegal migration can resume at any time, so together with our partners in the EU, we are making every effort to close the path to illegal migration to Europe,” said Foreign Minister Gabriel Landsberg.
“We have managed to stop illegal migration, and foreigners who have entered Lithuania and the EU illegally must be returned to their countries of origin. We must make every effort to encourage migrants to return voluntarily. The decision to triple the state benefit for migrants who wish to return has paid off and we already have the result today, ”said the Minister of the Interior Agnė Bilotaitė.
The plane took off from Vilnius International Airport and flew Iraqis to Baghdad and Erbil. Many of them have recently been accommodated in the Aliens Registration Centers (URC) in Pabradė and Kybartai, as well as in Medininkai and the Refugee Reception Center in Rukla. Migrants to Iraq were accompanied during the flight by officers and interpreters of the State Border Guard Service (SBGS). The flight was organized and coordinated by the SBGS.
Lithuania is actively working with the Government of Iraq, as its citizens make up the majority of illegal immigrants. Four consular missions to Iraq have already been carried out in Lithuania, during which consuls helped Iraqis wishing to return to arrange travel documents.
A one-time fee of LTL 1 thousand was paid to all those who voluntarily decided to leave Lithuania. euro payments. Decision on 1 thousand. support capacity until 2022 January 20 and will apply only to illegal migrants currently living in Lithuania. Most of these payments are financed by the European Commission’s assistance to Lithuania in managing the migration crisis. Maintaining one migrant costs Lithuania 11 thousand per year. euros.
537 migrants have already returned to their countries of origin from Lithuania, 482 of them voluntarily. Currently, 3 thousand people live in five Alien Registration Centers. 166 foreigners.