TALLINN - While the total number of people caught by the authorities for illegal migration declined in Estonia last year, a bigger number of people violating valid regulations than last year was discovered within Estonia and Ukrainians made up the largest group among the violators.
The detection and prevention of illegal migration in 2020 was influenced by the travel restrictions arising from the coronavirus crisis, the Police and Border Guard Board said on Friday.
During the year, 849 people were caught at illegal migration, including 240 at border crossing points, 604 within the country and five between border crossing points. In 2019,1,022 illegal migrants were caught at border crossing points, 362 within the country and 27 between border crossing points.
Thus, the numbers of people caught who were staying in Estonia without a legal basis or had misused the possibility for visa-free stay increased last year. This is seen to be a result of targeted checks, of which close to 500 were carried out during the year. As a result of the checks misdemeanor proceedings were opened with regard to 151 persons, compared with 46 persons in 2019.
Of all the persons discovered to be engaging in illegal migration during 2020, 324 were staying in the country illegally, 200 were misusing their visa and 166 were misusing the terms of visa-free stay. Those misusing their visa were mostly citizens of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, while those misusing the terms of visa-free stay were mostly citizens of Ukraine and Moldova.
The top three of the countries whose nationals make up the biggest numbers of persons detected to be in breach of migration rules in Estonia has been unchanged in recent years. In 2020, citizens of Ukraine numbered 472, citizens of Moldova 72 and citizens of Russia 69.
In total, 1,186 precepts to leave Estonia were issued by the authorities during the year.