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New EU visa would lead to kicking out illegal Georgian migrants

By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 4
From March 1, 2011 a new simplified way of issuing visas to EU countries for Georgians has come into force. This is viewed by many as a very serious and significant move towards European integration for the country. However, some analysts see the new laws having a reverse effect. These rules of the new visa regime oblige the EU countries to get rid of illegal Georgian citizens from their countries, meaning tens of thousands of people losing their livelihood and shelter abroad, returning home and further increasing the ranks of unemployed people in Georgia. It is very difficult to establish precisely how many Georgian immigrants reside in EU countries. A significant number of Georgians are living in Greece. There are also fairly large Georgian communities in Spain, Holland, Germany and other countries. The exact number is unknown but former Finance Minister and now opposition member David Onoprishvili estimates there could be more than 200 000 Georgians in EU countries. Their return to Georgia will cause serious problems not only to their own families but to the country as whole. Of course, Georgia cannot offer much to these people but it still has to do something to address the potential hardship.