A Syrian couple relocated to Lithuania under the EU's refugee relocation program have been granted refugee status.
Syrian refugee couple in Lithuania granted refugee status
© AP/Scanpix

"To my knowledge, the Migration Department has granted this family refugee status," Deputy Interior Minister Elvinas Jankevičius told BNS.

The Syrians are the second group of persons relocated to Lithuania under the EU deal.

The first group, a family from Iraq, were granted temporary legal protection in late 2015. The Iraqis appealed against the Migration Department's decision, but the court upheld it.

Refugee status grants permanent residency in Lithuania, whereas temporary legal protection provides temporary residence for two years. The period of temporary protection may be extended.

Evelina Gudzinskaitė, acting director of the Migration Department, said the refugee families had been granted different protection statuses because they were in a different situation.

"Refugee status is granted when a person is regarded as belonging to a certain group -- religious, ethnic or social -- and therefore faces persecution in his or her country," the official said.

"Temporary protection is granted when it is not established that a person faces persecution for membership of a group, but he or she is in danger because of personal reasons," she said.

Lithuania has committed to taking in 1,105 refugees over a period of two years under the EU program.

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