Asylum requests hit nine-year low in Switzerland

Asylum requests hit nine-year low in Switzerland
Migrants aboard the MV Aquarius rescue ship on the Mediterranean in May 2018. File photo: AFP
The number of requests for asylum in Switzerland was down nearly a fifth in the first nine months of 2018 and at its lowest level since 2010.

A total of 11,484 people requested asylum in the country from January to June, down 17.5 percent on a year earlier, according to statistics released on Tuesday by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

That is the lowest figure for the first nine months of the year since 2010.

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The SEM said the number was down on previous years because migration via the central Mediterranean route had decreased significantly and because Switzerland was no longer a primary destination country for asylum seekers who entering Western Europe using this route.

In a statement, the SEM said 1,749 asylum requests were filed in Switzerland in September with 279 being rejected. A further 319 people were granted asylum and 643 were temporarily admitted.

The largest groups of asylum seekers were Eritreans (155 people, down 54), Turks (113), Afghans (111) and Syrians (107).

The SEM says it now estimates there will be up to a maximum of 19,000 asylum requests in Switzerland to the end of the year.

But the agency said the final figure would depend on the situation in Libya and how many people cross the Mediterranean in coming months.

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