Despite the closed borders due to the coronavirus outbreak, since the beginning of autumn about 10,000 Belarusians have left for Poland, 3,000 for Ukraine, no more than 500 for Lithuania and Latvia, Sputnik reports.
If to compare data provided by Head of the Citizenship and Migration Department Alexey Begun with Belstat’s data on international migration, it turns out that in two incomplete months of the year, several times more people went abroad than for the whole last year.
Situation is not critical
“We are monitoring the situation, tracking the movement of our citizens through outer borders, taking into account that a number of states have provided a regime of certain preferences for our citizens,” said Alexey Begun.
According to the head of the department, this situation “is not critical and does not cause serious damage to national security.” “The country does not feel a significant loss of national labour resources,” the official added.
In his opinion, this departure was not caused by political events in the country. Alexey Begun noted that migration trends will be visible at the end of the quarter or even six months, since there are quarantine restrictions in many countries and it can be difficult to return.
“Maybe certain persons, who had planned for a long time to move to other countries for a permanent residence, used this situation in order to apply to the competent authorities of Lithuania or Poland with an application for refugee status. Thus, they very often created a so-called informational image to confirm that they are victims for their political views on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.”
How many left for these countries before
The website of the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has data on Belarusians leaving for the first 9 months of 2020. According to this, 779 people left for Poland, 1,122 people left for Lithuania, and no one left for Latvia and Ukraine. These figures differ markedly from the data for two months announced by the head of the Department of Citizenship and Migration.
But the fact is that the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs includes only labour migrants who went abroad “with the assistance of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs who have a special permit (license) to carry out activities related to employment outside the Republic of Belarus.” Accordingly, those who found work on their own or went abroad for any other reason are not counted in the statistics.
According to Belstat’s data on the number of people leaving Belarus in 2019, 1,751 people left for Poland, 1,890 people left for Ukraine, 435 people went to Lithuania, and 131 people went to Latvia. It turns out that in two months of 2020, five times more people left for Poland than for the whole of 2019, for Ukraine – almost twice as many, for Lithuania and Latvia in total – about the same as for the whole last year.