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Bulgaria remains transit country for migration

Photo: BGNES

Bulgaria has been subject to zero migration pressure over the past few years. The refugee accommodation centers with the State Agency for Refugees are occupied at 15% of their total capacity only. Less than 800 refugees are currently accommodated in such centers. This means that the flow of asylum seekers in our country has dropped significantly in recent months and years, Radoslav Stamenkov, Head of Mission of the International Organization for Migration in Bulgaria told BNR. He explained that during the Covid-19 pandemic in April when countries closed their borders, there were internal restrictions on free movement and gathering of people. During that time only one person was detained for illegal stay in Bulgaria, data of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior show. According to statistics, nearly 400-500 migrants entered Bulgaria since May. The biggest migrant flow was registered in the hot summer months. However, their number was several times lower as compared to several years ago. Currently, Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus and Spain are the EU countries with highest migrant waves, the expert specified.

“Very few refugees stay in the country, regardless of whether they receive refugee status or not. Most of them depart to Western Europe”- Radoslav Stamenkov says. With regard to the risk of spread of coronavirus infection through migrants, Mr. Stamenkov explained that when migration is managed properly, people are quickly accommodated at special centers and the danger is minimized. All migrant accommodation centers are equipped with isolation rooms where all newly-accommodated migrants are placed under the mandatory fourteen-day quarantine. No complaints have been made, because living conditions in these places for accommodation are quite normal. Migrants who seek asylum in Bulgaria usually need consultation with psychologist and assistance to solve legal and social issues.

Edited by: Gergana Mancheva

English version: Kostadin Atanasov

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