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Switzerland sees big jump in asylum seekers

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Morven McLean - [email protected]
Switzerland sees big jump in asylum seekers
Photo: AFP/FABRICE COFFRINI

Almost 12,000 applications for asylum were lodged in Switzerland in the first six months of 2015 with Eritreans accounting for more than half.

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The latest statistics from the State Secretariat for Migration SEM show 11,873 applications between January and the end of June – up 16 per cent on the same period last year.

More people requested asylum in the second quarter than the first, with June registering a bumper 3,805 applications.

The SEM said the increase in the second quarter was mainly down to the higher number of Eritreans arriving from southern Italy.

Weather conditions also played a role, with more people migrating in the summer months.

But it pointed out that the increase was modest in European terms. The Swiss share of asylum requests lodged in Europe had more than halved since 2012.

Pius Betschart, deputy director of the Federal Office for Migration told the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper online that in the first five months of this year asylum requests were under last year’s levels.

“Then they rose suddenly, and now we have 1,000 requests a week,” he said.

The largest number of requests came from Eritrea, followed by Somalia, Sri Lanka and Syria.

Eritrean applications tend to be successful. “The vast majority of the Eritreans are in need of protection under Swiss law,” Betschart told the paper.

The State Secretariat for Migration expects asylum requests to reach around 29,000 by the end of this year. Last year the total was just under 24,000.

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