Georgian asylum-seeker numbers quadruple as fears of organised crime grows

Germany and Sweden have dealt with similar concerns by threatening visa restrictions

The number of refugees looking for asylum from Georgia has quadrupled this year, jumping up from 75 in 2017 to 303 applicants so far in 2018.

The figures place Georgia only behind Syria and Eritrea in terms of the number of applications made this year.

Onlookers attribute the surge to a deal struck by the foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen, who promised monetary assistance to the ongoing Georgian reform processes.

Criminals among them
However, there is a concern that Georgian nationals are responsible for a high number of shop thefts and other crimes, according to a recent Rigspolitiet report.

According to the Danish police, the crimes are perpetrated by organised groups, not individuals, and the claims are echoed by Germany and Sweden, which have also seen a huge increase in Georgian applicants.

Earlier this year, both countries’ governments warned Georgia to fix the issue or risk losing travel visa privileges. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili noted the complaints and promised to look into the matter, and since then the asylum rate has fallen in both Germany and Sweden.