Crisis, EU – Baltic States, Integration, Latvia

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 13.08.2022, 06:07

Almost all asylum seekers relocated to Latvia have left the country

BC, Riga, 05.09.2016.Print version
Of 23 asylum seekers that have been relocated to Latvia as part of the European Union's refugee relocation program, 21 persons are already in Germany, as Latvian Television has found out, reported LETA.

For instance, a Syrian mother of three, who at the end of July said she was planning to settle in Latvia and had already learned some Latvian, told the television that she had left Latvia as the mentor provided by the state was unable to help her family solve various practical day-to-day problems. Eventually she decided to ask money for apartment rent from her brother who lives in Germany, but at the end of August, the family packed and left for Germany.


Only the father remains in Latvia - he works at the asylum center Mucenieki as an interpreter. He told the television that this was not a surprising development, as it was nearly impossible for a refugee to settle in Latvia. The man says that he - although it is not his job - has tried to help mentors communicate with asylum seekers arriving in Mucenieki, but seeing how uninterested the mentors were, he stopped interpreting. Furthermore, the mentors have practically no resources to actually help refugees, notes the man.


The official institutions say that they have no information about refugees leaving Latvia. The Citizenship and Migration Affairs Office told LETA that, according to the law, refugee seekers who obtain the status of a refugee or an alternative status do not have to inform the authorities if they intend to leave Latvia. They - just as any other resident of Latvia - have the right to travel to any country in Europe.


Welfare Ministry and Latvian Red Cross, which provide mentoring service to asylum seekers, also told LETA that they had no information that asylum seekers were leaving Latvia.


In the meantime, persons who have been granted asylum in Latvia continue to receive monthly benefits of EUR 139, plus EUR 39 for each additional family member. Those who have received the refugee status are paid the benefit for one year, and those who have received the alternative status - for nine months.


The Citizenship and Migration Affairs Office also notes that it has no reason to discontinue paying the benefits, even if a given person is not at the Mucenieki center any longer. Benefits may only be halted if the person dies, earns a wage that exceeds the minimum monthly wage, or has received a prison sentence for a criminal offense.

As reported, by now Latvia has already admitted 69 asylum seekers under the EU refugee relocation scheme. The first group of asylum seekers was transferred to Latvia in early February this year.


The Citizenship and Migration Affairs Office has so far granted refugee status and alternative protection to 23 people.


Latvia has committed to taking in 531 asylum seekers in two years. While most of them will be relocated from EU member states Greece and Italy, 50 people have to be relocated from third countries, most likely Turkey.


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