10 police officers sent to help Migration Dept with document processing
"The director of the Migration Department is not coping with the work and a while ago asked us to increase the number of staff, she specified 12 positions, however, we cannot help on such a short notice due to lack of funding. Therefore, we agreed with the police that they would transfer 10 employees from migration units to the Migration Department. These are the fast measures of solving the problem, as we see the long lines and the people working overtime, which may lead to mistakes," the minister told BNS on Wednesday.
In his words, the police officers would be sent for two months, and the ministry is asking to envisage 148,000 euros in the budget for the additional positions. If the money is not provided, the delegation of police officers will be continued. Since the beginning of October, the understaffed department is no longer accepting visa applications.
Misiunas said the long lines of applications at the department was a result of a more liberal scheme of work visas, especially for Ukrainian citizens, as well as the traditionally more intense migration of students from foreign countries.
Two weeks ago, the minister announced plans of scrapping the Migration Department that has lately faced severe criticism, suggesting to transfer the functions to the police and the border guards. The initiative was criticized by President Dalia Grybauskaitė, saying that the problems within the migration system should be solved by restructuring the institution rather than dividing its functions.
The department came under criticism following a few controversial decisions in connection to asylum, residence permits and suspected leak of information.