The main channel of illegal transportation goes through Transcarpathia


Our time is characterized by extension of scales of migration processes in the world, broadening and development of relations and integration between the countries. Migrants have always brought their impact into development of any country, its economic, social and cultural constituent.

Nowadays, as to the size of migration the corridor Mexico – USA is supposed to be the largest one, the volumes of which exceed 10 million persons every year. In addition, one of the greatest corridors are Turkey-Germany, Algeria-France. But if examining migration to EU countries as a whole so such a corridor is not worse and even prevail in the direction to Mexico – USA.

We, indeed, will examine illegal migration, the flows of which go through our country. Due to its profitable territorial location, Ukraine has become a transit country for the flow of migrants to EU countries, as our country has common land borders with Romania, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary placed for thousand kilometers. In spite of its economic profit, location of Ukraine is comfortable for illegal migration, i.e. illegal movements beyond the check points or concealment from border and customs control. Many people, in particular from Arabic and Muslim countries, wish to reach wealthy and successful EU countries. Citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Caucasian Republics of RF, Palestine, Nigeria, Syria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt are among the main flows of illegal migrants and asylum seekers who arrive to our country or, what happens more often, use it as transit zone.

It is worth to mark that in 80% of cases illegal migration through the territory of Ukraine is not spontaneous, vice-versa it is a well organized and regulated business for years. Few of migrants are able to venture to such “a trip” on their own. Usually, already in the country of their origin they make agreement for illegal transportation to EU countries with international criminality specializing in smuggling people. The price for these kind of services are fluctuating from $4 to $7 thousand depending on different nuances, e.g. country of origin, transit route, number of mediators, period of transportation. Some persons wishing to get to EU sell their flats, houses, the last property in order to gather these sums, especially if the whole family decides to emigrate. The better option for asylum seekers is an occasion when they manage to open tourist visa to Ukraine, so in such a case they would have to cross only one border – Ukraine-EU.

It is not possible for migrants from all countries to get tourist visa, however sometimes issue of such a visa is included into the cost of the “services” of some smugglers. But in many cases migrants cross some more borders before reaching Ukraine. The main migration flow is directed through Russian Federation. In this case, the general sum of the transportation to EU countries increases from $4 thousand to $7 thousand, and sometimes even more. The very transportation through Russian-Ukrainian border costs $ 1.5-2.5 thousand. As a rule, this distance is supposed to be easy as the border length is hundreds kilometers and generally it is guarded not so thoroughly as the state border with EU. According to the words of illegal migrants, they cross the state border mostly at nights, in the forests, marsh and adverse terrains in accompaniment of the smugglers.

There are also exotic ways of getting to Ukraine, in particular by seaway. Some asylum seekers from Eritrea told us that they reached our country by boat through the Black Sea, certainly, also illegally and beyond the check point.

Usually after overcoming the first stage (Ukrainian border), the smugglers deliver illegal migrants closer to the western border of Ukraine, they often hold them in the “settlings” in Vinnytsya, Khmelnytskyi and Ternoil oblasts. The migrants sit snug there a week or two at specially rented flats or hotels, the owners of which are mainly “in share”, or for they are silent a definite sum. After a certain number of persons is collected and “favorable time” comes, the malefactors intend to take migrants to EU countries. They try it because success of such an attempt generally does not exceed 40-60%. Migrants, of course, do not know about this as they are told fairy tales about guaranteed reaching EU in order smugglers get the necessary sum. Though it should be mentioned that there are such channels of smuggling efficiency of which is about 100%, but they are few and most likely these smugglers are assisted…

The most part of the migrants’ flow is detected and stopped by the workers of Border Service of Ukraine. After illegal migrants are put to Temporary Holding Centers and special camps, as e.g. in the village of Zhuravychi, in Volyn oblast, where these people are awaiting for deportation to the country of origin.

The chief channel of illegal transportation goes through Transcarpathian oblast, and Lvov oblast is used mainly as transit zone in rather less degree for crossing the border. Transcarpathian oblast has the common border with three EU countries, besides the relief of the region, mountains and passes assist in illegal migration that complicate the work of the border guards of Ukraine and their European colleagues. The flow of illegal migrants through Transcarpathia exceeds the Lvov direction in 2-3 times.

The peak of migration through Ukraine fell on 1990-2000s, which was activated sufficiently after 2010 when Ukraine signed the Law about Readmission in accordance with which from January 1, 2010 the country became to be obliged to accept…tens thousand illegal migrants from EU, who got there through the territory of Ukraine. However, few of illegal migrants were glad by the perspective to be deported already from EU countries to Ukraine.

There is also a way how to avoid deportation to your country even after detention during the illegal cross of the border. Many detainees write application to municipal department of Migration Service of Ukraine asking for refugee status or apply as persons in need of subsidiary protection. The majority of the migrants really run from political or religious pursuit in their country.

Fathi from Palestinian, among such people, has agreed to tell his story. The boy arrived to Ukraine escaping the pursuit of HAMAS. Working in the field of journalism, Fathi wrote articles, satirical poems, libels and in general he was engaged in oppositional activity. Ruling party did not like some of his publications and the boy was arrested repeatedly, he was not allowed to make his job by the law. Receiving necessary documents on the territory controlled by Fathom, the boy left the country. In Ukraine he has lived already for several years, he learns Ukrainian and Russian and he says that he likes to stay in our country, he wants to integrate into society entirely, to marry and become a respectable citizen. Not long ago, Fathi become a step closer to his goal receiving refugee status in Ukraine. Now, the young man works at two places and plans to start his own business in accordance with the integration programme of UNHCR, which grants refugees $10 000 for the starting own business having a good business plan. The boy’s family long since is occupied by making furniture from marble, so Fathi is eager to continue a family business already in Ukraine.

However, receiving refugee status in Ukraine is too difficult than in EU. It may sound ironic, but it is a fact. The reason of this situation is banal and simple – financial constituent. The country entrusts many social components when granting refugee status. According to statistic data, out of 10 applications about refugee status granting or subsidiary protection in better case one is satisfied. However, it should be confessed that often rejects are reasonable and grounded. It is said about the cases of “economic migration, when the person is not threatened with anything in his country, and the goal of his trip is search of better future, so according to the law such a person cannot be recognized as a refugee. There are cases, when people present untruthful information about their personality. Though, many are really in need of protection and asylum as return to their motherland for them is terribly dangerous. Without exceptions, UNHCR and its regional partners help everybody – organization NEEKA in Lviv and Transcarpathian oblasts, which at the assistance of UNCR provides asylum seekers with free of charge legal and other kinds of aid.

Not always, reject in refugee status granting means further deportation of the person. Asylum seekers have a right to file to a court for the body of Migration Service of Ukraine and then appeal in case of reject of the court of the first instance. According to the law, in the course of court consideration of the case, claimants (illegal migrants) receive temporary residential permit on the territory of Ukraine and cases the like are dragged on for years.

Namely Samir and Mukhammad from Iraq acted in such a way, who have complained against the decision already for years. During this period, they had time to marry and acquired children, and it is a guarantee of legalization. Samir is happy that right here in Ukraine he managed to find his destiny and happiness. The single thing that still makes him upset is impossibility to find a job. In Iraq the man worked at five-star hotel “Baghdad”, he has good experience, however in Ukraine it is difficult to get job: “They do not want to hire”, – he complains. Mukhammad is in similar situation.

However, there is another side of the medal: there are quite a lot cases when people apply for getting refugee status in order to win time for the next quick march to Europe, from the second (third) time many succeed to reach their goal…

Author: Gradyuk Igor,
specially for Informational Agency UMMA inform, Lvov-Mukachevo-Uzhgorod-Lvov