Over 300 people applied for asylum in Latvia since August

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Since August, when the government announced an emergency in the border area with Belarus, more than 300 applications for asylum have been received, Latvian Radio reported September 27.

According to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, this is more than twice the number of the entire last year. LSM already reported that last year, 147 people requested asylum in Latvia.

The majority of those seeking asylum are from Iraq. The Office's representative Madara Puķe said that so far the authority is able to cope with the great demand.

“[..] we have looked at 30 asylum requests. Five interpreters from the European Asylum Support Office have also joined us. Interpreters will help to examine and interpret all this large number with asylum requests because most of the asylum seekers do not speak Latvian or any of the international languages, Russian or English,” said Madara Puķe.

As previously reported by LSM, the whole process of reviewing an asylum application can take six to eight months.

In the European Union as a whole, there were some 103,895 first-time asylum seekers applying for international protection in countries of the EU during the second quarter of 2021. This was up by 115% when compared with Q2 2020 (48,370 first-time applicants), and up by 9% when compared with the Q1 2021 (95,265). However, it was still below the pre-pandemic levels observed in Q2 2019 – down by 28%. This information comes from data on asylum published by Eurostat September 24. The situation on the borders of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland is likely to make more of an impact on the figures for the third quarter.

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