RIGA - The European Commission has approved the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (PMIF) national program or activity plan for 2021-2027 in the amount of EUR 41.8 million euros, of which EUR 32 million will be co-financed by the EU, the Ministry of the Interior informed LETA.
Latvia has set the field of integration as a high-level priority. The PMIF aims to help effectively manage migration flows and to implement, strengthen and develop common asylum and immigration policies in response to growing migration challenges.
The field of asylum and migration in Latvia has been particularly relevant since 2021, when an increased interest of third-country nationals in Latvia was observed. Irregular migration has become a reality due to the unstable situation in the countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, as a result of which Latvia is experiencing provocations characteristic of a hybrid war, for example, the flow of illegal migration to Latvia facilitated by the Belarusian regime, the ministry notes.
In the view of IeM, the increase in the number of migrants, as well as the hybrid war of illegal migration and its future potential, indicate the need to strengthen capacity to process information related to persons who cross the border illegally. It is also necessary to find solutions for the accommodation of detained foreigners and the provision of humanitarian assistance to those asylum seekers who need it, as well as for the return of migrants to their home countries, using the support of the European Union through PMIF.
In accordance with the PMIF, it is intended to ensure the development of asylum and migration digitization processes, to modernize the unified migration information system, to raise the professional qualifications of employees in the field of migration flow management, to develop the capacity of Latvian state institutions in the field of asylum, migration and naturalization, to organize and improve the process of returning foreigners to their home countries, and also to improve the accommodation conditions of detained foreigners.
In the field of integration, an important activity will be the creation of a "one stop agency", where, by combining the services of various institutions, support would be provided to those foreigners who start living in Latvia.
Thanks to PMIF, public administration will be digitized and modernized, creating a user-oriented public service. In addition, people's opportunities to exercise their legal rights will be facilitated; increased efficiency of the judicial and law enforcement system, simplification of legal processes. Significant support will be provided to the civically active society - the non-governmental sector, which will be able to implement projects in the field of integration. Persons crossing the border illegally will be assisted to return to their home countries.
Civilians who are fleeing the Russian war in Ukraine will also receive assistance - basic goods and services. The European Union funding will help Latvia fulfill its international obligations.
The Ministry of the Interior is the leading institution for the PMIF 2021-2027 planning period, while the Ministry of Culture is the delegated institution for integration issues.
The EUR 41,804,171 available to Latvia in the PMIF 2021-2027 planning period consists of European Union co-financing in the amount of EUR 32,004,016 and national co-financing in the amount of EUR 9,800,155.