The number of foreigners who were refused entry to Lithuania grew considerably in the first half of 2016, as compared with the same period last year, the Migration Department said in an overview of migration figures for January-June.

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In all, 2,091 foreigners were banned from entering the country in the first six months of this year, 36% more than in January-June 2015.

"Increasingly many people try to enter Lithuania from Russia and Belarus – the main flows (of those who have been rejected) come from these countries. They are simply individuals who do not have visas to enter Lithuania or permits, as well as those who cannot validate their presence in Lithuania or clearly specify reasons why they want to come. Some of them are people who are not allowed to enter for security reasons," Interior Minister Tomas Žilinskas told BNS.

Regardless of the rising numbers of barred persons, the public “black list” remains empty after the government decided to start the list a year ago.

The Migration Department says the hike was not due to the record-high number of asylum seekers entering the European Union (EU) last year – the number of asylum applications in Lithuania remains virtually unchanged (113 applications in the first half of 2016, up by merely 0.9% year-on-year).

On July 1, 2016, 42,057 foreigners resided in Lithuania, with the number growing by about 400 individuals over the past year. The share of foreigners in the population stood at 1.47% on July 1 this year (1.43% on July 1, 2015).

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