Since March 2017, when the European Commission (EC) allowed visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian citizens, member states warned about the sharp and continuous rise in the number of unfounded asylum seekers from Georgia. The destination countries have varied during the last three years, but the top two countries have always been France and Germany. This brief examines the attractiveness of France and Germany as destinations for Georgian asylum seekers, including the factors influencing their choice.
While Georgian asylum seekers are active agents in their decision-making, their destination choices are influenced by several factors, such as visa-free travel, immigration and asylum policy measures, social networks, and their knowledge of the destination countries. After discussing these factors from the viewpoint of the asylum seekers themselves, the brief recommends the government and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) implement international best practices on managing asylum flows, elaborate a research-based strategy to tackle the root causes of asylum flows, and implement information campaigns about the risks of irregular migration and violations of the EU-Georgia visa-free regulations.