Migrants who had been sent to Latvia from Germany under the European Union (EU) redistribution policy have moved back to Germany almost as soon as they reached the small Baltic nation.
After agreeing to take in 531 migrants directly from Germany to process their asylum claims, a new report shows that of the 69 that actually arrived, 23 of them gained asylum, but only two migrants decided to stay in the Baltic state with the rest heading back to Germany, reports Spiegel Online.
Germany and the EU have pushed for the redistribution of migrants since close to the start of the migrant crisis. While many countries, most notably the central European Visegrad 4 group (Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Poland), have rejected the automatic redistribution of migrants, some nations like Latvia welcomed the proposal.
Some migrants claimed that the reason they returned to Germany was that it was impossible for them to find work or an apartment in Latvia.
Making matters worse, Latvian media reports that the migration authorities in the country have no way to track where the migrants have gone. The nation’s migration agency says that there are no current laws that can stop the migrants from leaving the country due to the free movement of peoples being enshrined in the EU’s Schengen agreement, of which Latvia is a signatory.
The Latvian government was even forced to admit that the migrants would still receive the monthly payment of €139 regardless if they were in the country or not.
The Prime Minister of Latvia, Maris Kucinskis, has commented saying that he will look into the matter, but warned that he would not make Latvia a “totalitarian state” by erecting border fortifications like a wall.
Countries like Greece and Italy, who are the first EU countries most migrants arrive in, have requested that other EU nations relieve their overstretched governments and take in more migrants.
Even Sweden, who last year accepted all those who arrived, have asked the EU to help them relocate migrants, though the EU denied the Nordic country its request in March.
Of the Visegrad 4 who have rejected any redistribution, Hungary has become the most vocal. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made it clear to the EU that he does not want to take in any migrants and will ask the people of Hungary their opinion on the matter on October 2nd in a referendum.