The head of the state service in charge of patrolling the backwoods frontiers of Latvia as well as serving the more popularly travelled border crossing stations on the roads and highways pointed out that the Ukraine crisis has altered the routes of illegal migration through Russia straight toward Latvia. Formerly the flow preferred the direct route across Ukraine into Poland. Now it is forced to look northward to the Baltic states.
Rarely do the illegally-arrived Vietnamese request asylum in Latvia, Garbars told the LNT news program. Most of the 98 persons detained here have already been returned to their home country.
“Unfortunately we weren’t prepared for this upsurge in their flow and had to ask for supplemental funding from the government,” said Garbars.
The Vietnamese are convoyed back to Russia through Moscow, with Latvia covering the costs of their accommodation and plane fare back to Hanoi. There is a cooperation underway with the Russian authorities, who make sure they actually board the plane, the top Border Guard explained.
The average cost of sending a deportee back to Vietnam runs a bit over €2000 a head on average. Other destinations, such as Sri Lanka, can cost more than €6000 to send a detained illegal migrant back home.
EU Solidarity Fund resources from the previous planning period helped pay for the “hundreds of thousands of euro” in costs for convoying illegal immigrants back to their home countries last year, he said.
In 2014, the majority of people requesting political asylum in Latvia came from Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, according to information gathered by the State Border Guard.
In 2014, a total of 373 foreign residents applied for political asylum in Latvia - 171 from Georgia, 75 from Ukraine, 31 from Syria, 21 from Iraq, and 13 from Afghanistan. In 2013, 185 people applied for asylum in Latvia.
A total of 170 asylum seekers arbitrarily left the "Mucenieki" temporary detention center in 2014.