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Právo: Repatriation applications from Ukrainian Czechs surging

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Prague, Sept 2 (CTK) – The number of applications for repatriation by ethnic Czechs from Ukraine to the Czech Republic quintupled from the expected 250 to 1,119 during the summer, daily Pravo writes yesterday.
Due to the surging interest, Czech authorities even had to establish waiting lists for the applicants, Pravo writes.
At the end of August, the Czech foreign and interior ministries recorded 1,119 applicants for repatriation from Ukraine.
Although the government has set aside 66 million crowns to repatriate 250 people, it is obvious that the sum will not be sufficient, Pravo writes.
A total of 414 people submitted applications for the permit for permanent stay, according to the data from the Interior Ministry asylum and migration policy department, it adds.
So far, 151 of them have come to the Czech Republic, Pravo writes, referring to the report drawn up for the government by Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD).
Other ethnic Czechs from Ukraine have declared their interest in the repatriation, while some have asked for the confirmation that they are part of the Czech community, Pravo writes.
The latter are expected to submit their applications soon, it adds.
“In the course of the year, the number of applicants for repatriation surged, compared with original estimates. This must be translated into the organisation of the continuation of the programme,” the report said.
The repatriation programme is for all ethnic Czechs living abroad, but at present the interest in it is being expressed solely from Ukraine, it added.
Due to the worsening security situation in eastern Ukraine, it was necessary to speed up the process in which the applications are accepted, Pravo writes.
As a result, emergency consular missions in Odessa and Kiev were opened, it adds.
Here, collective applications can be submitted. In Odessa, this was used by the people from the areas threatened by the current hostilities, especially from Donetsk and Zaporizhia, but there were also applicants from Crimea and Odessa, Pravo writes.
The consular staff have complied with the applications from 135 persons there, it adds.
However, the Czech embassy in Kiev is still registering 450 clients, 200 of whom have already submitted the applications, Pravo writes.
“Given the number of applicants, specific deadlines are already being set for June 2016,” the report said.
Another 130 applications have been registered at the general consulate in Lvov, 31 of which have been settled, it added.
All the repatriated persons were accommodated in the Vltava hotel in Cervena nad Vltavou, south Bohemia, administered by the Interior Ministry.
A total of 89 repatriated persons are already living elsewhere and have gained jobs, the report said.
Some 20,000 Czechs may live in Ukraine according to various sources. Most of them immigrated there under the tsarist Russia in the 19th century.
($1 = 24.040 crowns)

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