Many Lithuanians unable to accept Soviet occupation in 1940 were deported to Siberia. However, Russian immigration to Lithuania was never as heavy as to the other Baltic republics. Lithuania has been used as a transit country to western Europe for many years. Government policy was to return asylum seekers to their homelands or detain them indefinitely. However, the Lithuanian refugee law was passed 27 July 1997, and asylum procedure entered into force. Since the enforcement of this law, 471 people had applied for asylum in Lithuania as of 1999. Of these, 43 had been recognized as refugees and were being integrated. In 1999, the net migration rate was -1.58 migrants per 1,000 population. The total number of migrants living in Lithuania in 2000 was 339,000. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.