Since August, when the government announced an emergency in the border area with Belarus, more than 300 applications for asylum have been received, Latvian Radio reported September 27.
According to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, this is more than twice the number of the entire last year. LSM already reported that last year , 147 people requested asylum in Latvia.
The majority of those seeking asylum are from Iraq. The Office’s representative Madara Puķe said that so far the authority is able to cope with the great demand.
“[..] we have looked at 30 asylum requests. Five interpreters from the European Asylum Support Office have also joined us. Interpreters will help to examine and interpret all this large number with asylum requests because most of the asylum seekers do not speak Latvian or any of the international languages, Russian or English,” said Madara Puķe.
As previously reported by LSM, the whole process of reviewing an asylum application can take six to eight months.