VILNIUS – Lithuania has extended its scheme for relocating people of Lithuanian descent from crisis-stricken Venezuela for another year.
On Wednesday, the Cabinet extended the deadline for filing applications until October 1, 2021, as requested by the Lithuanian community in Venezuela who say the process has been hampered by various obstacles.
"We have managed to relocate 13 people in this period. Over 80 people have the status of relocated persons, but there are various obstacles to completing the paperwork," Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius told the Cabinet, saying that the hindrances included bureaucratic red tape, and electricity and Internet outages in the Latin American country.
"And the pandemic is now causing a lot of additional obstacles," Linkevicius noted.
"Therefore, the chairman of the community in Venezuela asked us to extend the deadline for applying for relocation," he added.
The government launched the scheme in 2019 in light of the escalating political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
The first group of 13 people – Lithuanian citizens or persons eligible for Lithuanian citizenship – arrived in Lithuania in August and September 2020 and were accommodated in the refugee reception center in Rukla.
Relocated people have their travel costs covered and are provided with housing. They receive a one-off accommodation allowance of 250 euros and a monthly allowance of 250 euros for basic necessities. They are also eligible for support for their children’s education and for learning the Lithuanian language.
Based on data from the Lithuanian population registry, some 187 Lithuanian citizens lived in Lithuania last year. The Lithuanian community in Venezuela has around 400 members. It is estimated that a total of around 1,000 Lithuanian citizens and people of Lithuanian descent live in Venezuela.