Number of asylum seekers from Georgia increased by 81 percent in 2022 - European Commission report
Asylum seekers from Georgia
The number of asylum seekers from Georgia to EU countries increased by 81 percent in 2022 compared to last year, according to a European Commission report.
According to the document dated October 18, while 14,635 asylum applications were submitted in 2021; in 2022 this number increased to 26,450.
Also, the number of Georgian citizens staying illegally in any of the EU member states increased by 87 percent compared to 2021. In addition, 3,970 Georgians were returned from EU countries in 2022.
- To America through Mexico – where, how, and why Georgian citizens are leaving
- “If it weren’t for the visa-free policy with the EU, there would be less migration” – Irakli Kobakhidze
- Interactive map of where you can go with a Georgian passport
What else does the report say?
It also talks about Georgia’s compliance with visa liberalization standards and the quality of implementation of recommendations for the country to obtain EU candidate status. The document notes that Georgia has made progress in this direction, but the Venice Commission’s recommendation regarding the procedure for appointing judges to the Supreme Court has not been fully implemented.
According to the document, Georgia still has to fulfill the recommendation of the previous report, according to which the independence of the body responsible for personal data protection should be ensured.
The report concludes that Georgia generally complies with the standards of visa liberalization, but makes additional recommendations.
Asylum seekers from Georgia
The European Commission demands:
- greater compliance with the EU visa policy, which provides for the establishment of a visa regime for third-country nationals from where illegal migration to the EU originates;
- intensification of actions to prevent unfounded asylum requests and illegal stay of Georgian citizens in EU member states;
- participation in the EMPACT [Europol] operational action plan on combating illegal migration;
- establishing an “Asset Recovery Unit” and “Management Office” and intensifying efforts to recover, trace, freeze, confiscate and destroy assets;
- adopting a new anti-corruption strategy and action plan, especially to prevent corruption at the highest level;
- complying with the recommendations of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Special Investigation Service and the Venice Commission on personal data protection legislation.
What measures is Georgia taking?
In September 2020, the Georgian Parliament passed in the third reading a bill according to which the border police would decide whether or not to let a Georgian citizen from Georgia into the Schengen zone (EU countries).
From January 1, 2021, the police will check the documents of a person wishing to travel to the EU according to several criteria, and if any of them is violated, they will not be able to cross the Georgian border.
These criteria are as follows:
● If a person is banned from entering any EU/Schengen country and the Georgian border control is aware of this.
● There are less than three months left before the expiration date of the biometric passport.
● No return ticket to Georgia, ticket reservation, document confirming the right to reside in a Schengen country or host country consent.
● No health insurance.
● No confirmation that the traveler has sufficient funds for the trip.
- Visa-free regime between Georgia and EU countries was introduced on March 28, 2017. From March to December 2017, 170 thousand Georgian citizens traveled to Europe without a visa.
- The European Union reserves the right, if Georgia fails to meet its obligations, to activate the so-called “Suspension Mechanism” and reconsider visa liberalization. The Government of Georgia states that despite the problems, there is no danger of revising visa liberalization at this stage.
- Georgian citizens seeking asylum in Europe most often cite unemployment as the reason for leaving the country. Also, many Georgian citizens go to Europe because of health reasons, which indicates problems in the country’s health care system.
- Georgian crime remains an important problem in Europe, both organized crime and petty theft. The problem is particularly often pointed out by Germany. Representatives of this country were even in Tbilisi last year and asked the Georgian Interior Minister to take effective measures.