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Ministry: Latvia has resettled 65% of the planned number of refugees

Rihards Kozlovskis/flickr.com/Saeima.
In the two years provided for the completion of the established asylum seeker resettlement project, Latvia has resettled 346 out of 531 asylum seekers, explains Interior Affairs Ministry. This means Latvia will not face sanctions for non-compliance with commitments.

In accordance with European Union’s resettlement programme, Latvia has to resettle 531 asylum seekers from other EU member states: 295 from Greece, 186 from Turkey and 50 Turkish refugee camps.

Office for Citizenship and Migration Affairs reports that work on commitments continues in spite of the approaching deadline.

Latvia has resettled 346 out of 531 asylum seekers so far. As part of the resettlement programme, refugee status was provided to ten people, alternative status was provided to 302 people. 150 of status recipients were children.

Once they leave Mucenieki Centre, individuals fall outside of OCMA’s jurisdiction, because other institutions take over supervising those individuals, OCMA reminds.

The office reports that European Commission’s report on the progress with EU resettlement programme was published in July.

EC notes that resettlement activities will continue after 26 September – Italy and Greece should maintain contact with member states that have not yet completed their commitments associated with refugee resettlement. Member states have to finish completing their commitments.

Considering how many people Latvia has successfully resettled, no sanctions are likely. Still, Latvia has to continue resettling asylum seekers. ‘It is important to note that realization of the resettlement procedure is a result of coordinated cooperation – involvement of all partners and performance of all required activities play a major role,’ OCMA notes.

Latvian Interior Affairs Minister Rihards Kozlovskis has confirmed that Latvia will not face any sanctions. Nevertheless, previous commitments will remain in force. «It is not like a line will be drawn after 26 September and countries that did nothing will be punished. Latvia does its best to stick to its established image. The final word with resettlement procedures lies with security institutions,» says the minister.

Kozlovskis also said that most asylum seekers have already left Latvia in search of greener pastures and Latvian authorities are unable to limit their travel freedom.

This summer, Latvia received multiple requests from Germany to send some asylum seekers back. This means people are sent back to Latvia to be re-interviewed by border guards again. If it turns out those people committed no crimes, their freedom will not be restricted. Nevertheless, those people will lose social support provided by Latvia after some time, the minister explained.

«Of course, if they have legal jobs in Germany, which is accepted in this country, there will be no problems with settling there,» says Kozlovskis, adding that Germany has a large community of citizens from the Middle East.

The minister says it is only natural for people to seek the best living conditions possible, so it is only logical for asylum seekers to pick Germany over Latvia.

«But I believe if people run from war, they should have at least some interest in integration. People are all different. Because of that, it is especially positive for us to see asylum seekers learning Latvian language and finding jobs in Latvia. If people have no interest in integrating into society, it should not be enforced,» says the minister.


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