Asylum seekers at a reception centre in a military bunker in Realp (canton of Uri). Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
That’s a huge rise on previous years. In 2015 some 4,943 asylum seekers ‘disappeared’, while in 2014 the figure was 5,501.
In 2016 the majority of those who left the system were from the African continent, including Eritrea (801), Gambia (792), Nigeria (716), Guinea (508), Algeria (504) and Somalia (494).
Martin Reichlin, a spokesman for the SEM, told news agency ATS there are several reasons asylum seekers may choose to drop out of the system without telling Swiss authorities. They might think their asylum request is about to be rejected, or they may want to go and find family members in other countries.
The SEM believes that most of those who disappear leave Switzerland, most probably for Germany, Reichlin added.