The Czech Republic is launching a programme to pay non-EU migrants to go home, noting that funding the scheme would cost taxpayers “far less” than if migrant groups remained in the country.
With an information campaign set to be put out on social media and with leaflets and posters from April, the Czech Interior Ministry said it hopes the first migrants participating in its new programme, titled ‘Návraty’ (Returns), will be processed in the third quarter of 2019.
With a particular focus on migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Russia, and Vietnam, the programme will offer foreign nationals up to 4,000 euros’ financial assistance towards transportation costs, setting up accommodation in their homelands, and purchasing livestock.
“The project should focus on all categories of foreigners, whether they are in the Czech Republic in an illegal situation or an asylum seeker,” Interior Ministry spokesman Hana Malá told Tiscali.cz.
Three-quarters of the 2.3 million euros currently allocated for the scheme will be paid for out of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), local media said, reporting applicants will have to promise not to return to Czechia nor to any other EU country, in order to be eligible for the financial assistance.
Pointing to a recent deportation from Germany which set taxpayers back 80,000 euros to fly just three migrants back to west Africa, Tiscali.cz described the Návraty scheme as a “cheap solution”, with the Interior Ministry noting that the costs work out less than providing illegal immigrants and asylum seekers with public services such as healthcare.
Like its Visegrad group partners in Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, the Czech government has taken a strong stance against illegal immigration, opposing EU efforts to spread third world migrants throughout the bloc and refusing to take in the share demanded by Brussels.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said Europe must “send a clear signal that illegal migration has ended” by turning migrant boats back and deporting bogus asylum seekers, arguing that the European Commission’s preferred solution — creating a permanent mechanism to share newcomers across EU states — was the “road to hell”, and would only exacerbate the problem.
Czechia was one of only five countries to vote against the so-called Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration at the UN General Assembly in New York City last month, where 152 countries signed up to the agreement and a dozen abstained.
The document, which claims migration is “inevitable, necessary, and desirable”, poses a threat to the nation’s sovereignty and security by defining the movement of people as a “human right”, stated Babiš, who has previously branded mass immigration from the Global South a “threat to European civilisation”.