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French Ambassador Says His Country Helps Georgian Illegal Migrants

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 8
(TBILISI)-- Citizens of Georgia, who decide to return to their homeland, get some kind of material assistance from France, French Ambassador to Georgia Pascal Meunier told the Georgian media.

The Ambassador stated there is a representative body- L’Office Francais de l’Immigration et de l’Integration (OFII) - in France and foreigners willing to leave the country, including Georgian citizens, can appeal to it.

If those willing to return to their homeland have a business or other idea, this representative body helps them to carry out their intentions.

"40-50 citizens of Georgia receive this assistance every year. These are Georgians who have not been able to obtain citizenship status in France and prefer to return to Georgia. There is a French representation in Georgia, a bureau that cooperates with local NGOs to help these citizens.

“The aid implies that these citizens create small enterprises or present their own business projects, and the representation provides them with technical advices on what they need in implementing of a particular project. The assistance also involves monetary support," the Ambassador said.

Meunier said OFII also helps the citizens of Georgia return to their homeland.

"This organization helps citizens both with financial and technical advice. They finance their return tickets. Citizens should persuade the organization that they really want to stay in Georgia and start a new life. Then these citizens are under control," said Meunier.

Georgia intends to introduce tough measures to prevent illegal stay of Georgians in the EU, to avoid threats for the Georgia-EU visa free deal signed last year.

The government of Georgia has announced “very close cooperation” with the partner nations to decrease the risk of Georgians’ illegal stay in some European countries.

Representatives of the German government, who left Georgia on March 7, stated that the number of Georgian asylum seekers in Germany has increased three times since March 2017, since the time Georgia was allowed in the Schengen Zone visa free.

The German officials stated that nearly 100 percent of Georgian asylum seekers were refused on the status, as Georgia “is a safe country and no one here is prosecuted.”

Germany announced that those who will be refused on the refugee status will not be able to enter the Schengen Zone for several years.

The Georgia-EU visa free deal envisages Georgians’ stay in Schengen countries for 90 days in any 180-day period.