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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Spike in number of Georgians looking for asylum in Ireland generates fear that latter could lose visa-free travel

The spike in the number of Georgians looking for asylum in Ireland has increased fears that the latter could lose visa-free travel to the majority of the European Union if the nation does not manage to maintain the asylum situation under control.

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The spike in the number of Georgians looking for asylum in Ireland has increased fears that the latter could lose visa-free travel to the majority of the European Union if the nation does not manage to maintain the asylum situation under control.

According to reports, the number of Georgians looking for international protection in the European Union this year could surpass the pre-pandemic levels if authorities in Georgia tighten their controls at the country’s airports and also pass new laws, after the pressure from the EU Member States to address the issue.

Over 1,100 Georgians have filed an application for asylum in Ireland this year, which is more than any other nationality except for Ukraine.

In this regard, officials, as well as exports, have stressed that poverty, not conflict or prosecution, is among the main reasons for migration among Georgians, who have been eligible to travel without visas to the EU’s borderless area of Europe since 2017, from where some move on to Ireland, while Ireland is not part of European Zone.

As per reports, an EU Official in the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, “From 2017 to 2020, we had a serious problem with Georgians migrating to the European area under the visa-free regime, when they only went as tourists and asked for asylum the moment they arrived.”

The official noted that the travel bans and other restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants led to a decrease in the number of Georgians who are travelling and staying in the Schengen Zone nations, for a longer than permitted 90 days period.

Additionally, as per the official, as compared to 2021 figures, now it has been noted an increase of 69% in overstays, thus is again becoming one of the main concerns in bilateral relations.

She pointed out, “This has been raised by the EU ambassadors here, that it will take another push from the EU family here with the authorities, to ensure this is checked.”

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