Applications for asylum in Switzerland rose 18.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011, official figures have shown.

"/> Applications for asylum in Switzerland rose 18.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011, official figures have shown.

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Switzerland sees big rise in asylum requests

Applications for asylum in Switzerland rose 18.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011, official figures have shown.


The new statistics published by the Swiss Federal Migration Office show that 4,371 applications were registered in the first quarter – 671 more than the first quarter a year before.

The month of March, during which weather conditions were good, saw a peak of 1,874 requests, 612 more than the previous month. The mild weather, together with the uprisings in North Africa are thought to be behind the increase, the Migration Office said in a statement.

Eritreans are leading the statistics for the first quarter of 2011, with 724 asylum seekers, a 35.3 percent increase than the same time last year, partially due to family reunions. They are followed by Nigerians, with 428 applications – a decrease of 31.6 percent. Other requests were lodged by Tunisians (251), Macedonians (190), Serbians (187) and Afghans (171), among others.

According to the statement, 713 people were granted asylum in this three-month period, 1,104 requests were rejected and an overall 9,893 cases still have to be examined.