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Lithuania to Review 18,000 Pre-Restriction Belarusian Entries, Revoking Permits of Those Deemed a Threat

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Lithuania plans to conduct thorough evaluations of more than 18,000 citizens of Belarus who arrived in the country prior to the implementation of strict migration restrictions in 2022.

By carrying out this assessment, Lithuanian authorities aim to ensure that Belarusians who pose a threat to national security are identified and prevented from holding residence permits, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

As the head of the Migration Department of Lithuania, Evelina Gudzinskaitė, revealed, Belarusians who entered before stricter rules were introduced will have to undergo the same inspection as newly arriving Belarusians.

This means that the Belarusians who arrived in Lithuania before the implementation of restrictions in 2022 will now have to fill out the same questionnaire that assesses views on Russia’s war in Ukraine.

According to Gudzinskaitė, there are about 18,000 citizens of Belarus in Lithuania who have not filled out the questionnaire and who hold valid residence permits, LRT explains.

Since the number of Belarusians living in the country without meeting this requirement is high, Lithuania wants to ensure that they identify those who present a threat, revoke their permits, and ask them to leave the country.

While everyone will have the right to choose whether they want to participate in the questionnaire, Gudzinskaitė highlighted that “if a person does not answer the questionnaire, it will be interpreted against them.”

Those who share their answers will have their views assessed, and if they are found to be suspicious and it is concluded that they pose a threat to Lithuania’s security, they will have their permit revoked.

On the other hand, those who give “the right” answers will continue to be permitted to stay in Lithuania under the same conditions.

Requirement For Belarusians to Fill Out Questionnaire Seen as “Right Move”

Lithuania’s decision to ask Belarusians to fill out the questionnaire on their views on Russia’s war in Ukraine and to pass the language test has been seen as the right move by many.

Someone said that taking into account the rules that Lithuanians were subject to in the past, it is only right that Lithuania applies such policies.

This seems like a moderate and reasonable response to the Russification policies they were subjected to in the past. It isn’t perfect, but it isn’t unreasonable either.

A Reddit Commenter

Someone else said that taking into consideration what is happening in Ukraine, they do not blame Lithuania for keeping such strict restrictions in place.

Regarding the language test requirement, another person said that it is the bare minimum to learn and speak the language of the country you reside.

I’d definitely say speaking the country’s primary language, at least, is a reasonable enough requirement.

Another Reddit Commenter

Data show that since November 2022, when the requirement to fill out the questionnaire was introduced, Lithuania has been able to detect a high number of Belarusians as well as Russians who pose a threat to the country.

Since then, Lithuanian authorities have identified more than 1,640 Belarusians and 390 Russians who pose a threat. They were all revoked their residence permits.

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