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Switzerland sees first quarter drop in asylum requests

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Switzerland sees first quarter drop in asylum requests
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
12:16 CEST+02:00
The number of asylum seekers arriving in Switzerland fell by 45 percent in the first three months of this year.

According to figures from the Swiss federal migration office (SEM), 8,315 asylum requests were filed in the first quarter of 2016, 45 percent fewer than in the last quarter of 2015.

March saw 1,992 asylum applications, down almost 25 percent on February, said the SEM.

Nevertheless, the number of asylum seekers coming to Switzerland so far in 2016 was still far more than the same period last year, said the SEM.

“The migration context is still very volatile and therefore unpredictable,” it said in a statement.

While making reliable predictions for 2016 was “impossible”, the SEM said it could envisage the number of asylum seekers to Switzerland  rising again during the course of the year.  

In March the SEM dealt with the applications of 2,702 asylum seekers, of whom 875 were rejected in accordance with the Dublin regulation, 609 were granted asylum and 559 were given provisional admission to Switzerland. A further 363 applications remain on hold.

The same month, 847 migrants left Switzerland or were repatriated, said SEM.

Switzerland asked other states to take charge of 1,532 asylum seekers under Dublin rules, and 489 were sent to the countries in question.

In return Switzerland received 257 requests from other countries and accepted 48 migrants in this way.

Under EU migration rules – to which Switzerland also adheres – the Dublin regulation establishes the member state responsible for the examination of an asylum application based on, among other things, the route by which they arrived in the EU.  

According to daily Le Matin, cantonal police authorities are set to agree a set of measures on Thursday to deal with a sudden rise in asylum seekers.

The measures, which aim to coordinate the tasks and emergency response of cantonal and communal authorities, will come in force should Switzerland receive 6,000 requests in a three-week period.

Although Switzerland has seen a sharp rise in asylum seekers over the past couple of years, the figures aren't nearly as high as in other European countries affected by the migrant crisis.

Last year Switzerland received 39,523 asylum requests in 2015, up from 23,765 the previous year, according to figures released in January.

Close to 1.4 million asylum requests were made across Europe as a whole in 2015, almost double the number as in 2014.

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