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The government of Georgia to take measures to reduce Georgian applications for asylum in the Schengen countries


The government of Georgia is planning to tighten measures to reduce the growing number of Georgian asylum seekers in the Schengen countries, the Government’s press service reported on 9 February 2018.
The announcement was made following Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s emergency session with foreign, justice and interior ministers, as well as the State Security Service head and the Chief Prosecutor.
The Government’s press service said the meeting participants discussed “steps to be taken in the near future to prevent the number of [Georgian] asylum seekers in the EU member states from rising further, and to avoid hampering visa liberalization.”

The press service also reported that these measures, among others, would involve a set of legislative amendments, which will impose readmission costs to readmitted persons, toughen procedures for changing last names, etc.
Additionally, the Interior Ministry was tasked to strengthen cooperation with partner countries, specifically with respect to combatting organized crime. For that purpose, Minister Giorgi Gakharia will intensify visits to the EU countries, and will strengthen the work of police attachés.

As of 5 February 2018, more than 170,000 Georgian citizens had enjoyed visa free travel to the Schengen area. 
According to the European Asylum Support Office, in December 2017, the EU member states, Norway and Switzerland received 1,465 first time applications for international protection from Georgian nationals, an almost triple increase from the same period last year (568 applications).

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