RIGA- In the first seven months of 2008 thenumber of illegal immigrants from Africa, Asia and Latin America has grown in Latvia,said State Border Guard head Gunars Dabolins.
Even though the majority of illegal immigrants in Latviaare citizens of Russia,Ukraine and Moldova,the immigration service has to deal with immigrants from exotic countries moreand more often.
This year there had been illegal immigrants from Nigeria,Senegal, Morocco,Ghana, Columbiaand Peru in Latin America, China,Sri Lanka, Iraq,Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Border Guard officials have had to learn about culture and traditions ofother countries. "We have be aware of how we speak, observetraditions," said Dabolins, adding that officials should not insultimmigrants due to ignorance of their culture.
Most often fake European Union (EU) passports are being used to travel to Latvia-- Lithuanian, Latvian, Polandand Bulgaria,as well as fake passports of countries with a visa free regime with Latvia-- special Turkish passports, passports of Koreaand Malaysia.
Fake French, Spanish, Benelux Schengen visas have also been found, as wellas illegal use of sailor's status. Many arrive in cargo ships from North Africa.
Border Guard experts had been sure about Schengen visas from the security pointof view, but it turns out that "technologies are developing in the handsof producers of fake visas as well", said Dabolins.
The detained illegal immigrants are sent to a special center in Olaine untiltheir further fate is decided, which is most often sending back to their nativecountry.