Posted 23 февраля 2023,, 12:33

Published 23 февраля 2023,, 12:33

Modified 23 февраля 2023,, 15:39

Updated 23 февраля 2023,, 15:39

Georgians are fleeing en masse to the EU under the pretext of "Russian occupation"

Georgians are fleeing en masse to the EU under the pretext of "Russian occupation"

23 февраля 2023, 12:33
The flow of Georgian citizens seeking asylum in the European Union (EU) doubled in 2022 and reached 28,797 people.

This is reported by Kommersant with reference to the data of the EU Migration Agency.

The overwhelming majority (26,400 Georgians) applied for asylum in the EU for the first time, and 2,397 — repeatedly.

So far, only 468 Georgian citizens have received refugee status in the European Union, and another 15,328 petitions are under consideration.

Explaining the impossibility of continuing to stay in their homeland, Georgians most often say that they are subjected to political persecution and danger in the conditions of "Russia's occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia." Such an argument is made not only by residents of these regions, whose independence Moscow recognized in 2008, but also by petitioners from other parts of the country. As opposed to Moscow, official Tbilisi and Western countries do not recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. They call both autonomies lands "occupied by Russia".

Since March 2017, Georgian citizens have been granted visa-free entry to the EU. Since then, there has been a flow of illegal migrants from the country to Europe, who enter as tourists, but do not return home. There are already 300 thousand such citizens. Migrants consider Germany and France to be the most attractive for themselves. If they fail to legalize in the chosen territory, they often apply for asylum. Those who are denied such a status in the EU, Georgia is obliged to return to their homeland at its own expense. In order to minimize the costs of readmission of migrant violators, Georgia has introduced criminal penalties for accomplices of illegal migration. The term of imprisonment under this article can be up to four years.

According to the Athens News, 923,991 asylum applications were registered in 27 EU countries in 2022, that is 46.5% more than in 2021. In total, in 2022, Germany received 226,467 applications for refugee status — the largest number since 2016 — and by a large margin leads among the countries of the European Union. France is in second place (154,597), followed by Spain (116,952) and Austria (108,490). Latvia (622), Slovakia (544) and Hungary (46) are in the last three.

Approximately 30% of asylum seekers in Germany are Syrian citizens, followed by refugees from Afghanistan (17%), Turkey (10%) and Iraq (6.7%).

Ukrainian refugees are not included in these statistics, as they automatically receive the right to temporary residence and social benefits in the EU.