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Lithuania Paid Migrants €1,000 to Return Home


The Lithuanian government has paid 98 illegal migrants €1,000 ($1,130) each to return to Iraq.

The Lithuanian government paid 98 Iraqis who had crossed illegally into Lithuania through the Lithuanian-Belarusian border €1,000 ($1,130) each, to peacefully board a flight to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

The Lithuanian Ministry of the Interior released a statement saying that all 98 migrants left voluntarily on the 2nd of January 2022, after their asylum claims were rejected.

The Interior Ministry have called the scheme a “one-time payout” in place for all illegal migrants “currently” in Lithuania and it is valid until the 20th of January 2022.

The scheme has been praised by the Interior Ministry as they say it saves the Lithuanian people money. The Ministry has highlighted that the cost is largely covered by the European Commission (the executive branch of the European Union) and that if the migrants were to remain each one would cost the Lithuanian people an average of €11,000 euros a year.

Prior to this €1,000 voluntary repatriation policy, Lithuania did provide financial incentives for migrants to turn home, but the Interior Ministry has said that “the decision to triple the state payout for returning migrants has paid off” and that the Lithuanian people “can see the result already”.

Lithuania’s Minister of the Interior Agnė Bilotaitė has said that all “foreigners” who entered Lithuania and the EU illegally “must be returned to their countries of origin”. Bilotaitė also encouraged illegal migrants to “return voluntarily”.

The Lithuanian Ministry have said that they have already returned 537 migrants to their countries of origin and “482 of whom did so voluntarily”. They state that there are currently 3,166 illegal migrants living in Lithuanian migrant registration centres.