The Slovenia Times

Number of asylum applications up five-fold in 2016



In the first eleven months, police handled 976 cases of illegal entry, which is a 100% increase, while authorities processed 942 out of 1,170 applications for international protection.

Asylum was granted to 148 applicants, of which 76 were Syrian citizens, 13 were from Afghanistan, 20 from Eritrea, 11 from Iran, 23 from Iraq and five from Kazakhstan.

There were 314 applicants in the country on 16 December. The average application processing time in 2016 was 110 days.

The number of illegal entry cases, meanwhile, rose to 976 in the first eleven months from 472 in the entire 2015, which is a result of the halting of the regular migration flow to the west.

Pointing to Austria's announcement it will no longer accept such large numbers as in the past, Slovenian Interior Minister Vesna Györkös Žnidar feels that the regulated flow as seen at the end of 2015 will not be repeated.

"Thus, we need to be aware that Slovenia is the first country facing a closed door and we are adjusting our measures accordingly," the minister said recently.

While it is getting ready to further stiffen rules on foreigners, Slovenia already immediately returns 80-85% of foreigners who illegally enter to the authorities of the neighbouring country.

According to Interior Ministry data, Slovenia returned 590 persons to foreign authorities in the first eleven months of 2015 and 688 in the same period last year. 234 and 431 respectively were meanwhile returned to Slovenia by foreign security authorities.

The costs of the migration crisis for Slovenia so far are estimated at almost 50 million euros, 9.4 million euros of which was covered by EU funds.

One of the most contentious measures has been 187 kilometres of wire fencing on the border with Croatia, although the razor wire fence has been replaced with hard wire fences at sensitive spots like tourist destinations.

Slovenia has meanwhile also been participating in the EU scheme for the relocation of asylum seekers. It received 124 so far, of which 23 were Eritreans relocated from Italy and 84 Syrians and 17 Iraqis relocated from Greece.


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