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Lithuania's Interior Ministry will propose lifting the existing movement restrictions for irregular migrants who arrived in Lithuania via Belarus last year, Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite says.
Interior Ministry to propose lifting movement restrictions for migrants
© Domantas Pipas

"Our decision is that we will not propose extending the existing movement restrictions. That's the plan. The algorithm of the process is currently being worked out," the minister told reporters on Thursday.

Under the existing procedure, the movement of migrants could be restricted for up to 18 months, with decisions taken every six months. The 12-month deadline is now approaching, and the ministry will propose not to extend the restriction for another six months, the minister said, adding that if the decision is approved, the majority of irregular migrants would leave Lithuania.

"Those people will probably leave for the countries they originally planned to go to as soon as they are free to leave their accommodation laces. This will probably result in a situation where we will no longer have most of these people in Lithuania," Bilotaite said.

And Lithuania will seek to send remaining migrants without granted asylum back to their countries of origin within five years, she said, adding, however, it could be problematic with some countries.

Bilotaite says the decision to lift the existing movement restrictions for migrants was made because Lithuania cannot keep them locked up permanently.

"We cannot keep these people indefinitely," she said.

Last year, almost 4,200 people entered Lithuania illegally from Belarus, and currently some 2,700 people remain in Lithuania, most of them at centers in Kybartai, Medininkai and Pabrade.

Some of them have been voluntarily returned to their countries of origin and some have fled.

BNS
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