Illegal migration keeps surging
Slovenian police handled 8,133 cases of migrants crossing into the country illegally in the first quarter of the year, more than four times the figure recorded in the same period last year. However, even as the number of those indicating their plan to apply for asylum rose, the number of those who actually applied dropped year-on-year.
A total of 7,628 migrants stated their intention to apply for international protection, which compares to 1,828 in the first quarter of last year, data from the Interior Ministry shows.
About 20% of those intended applicants were citizens of Afghanistan, which were also the largest group last year. However, the number of Moroccans rose to 1,034 from just 37 in the first quarter of last year and the number of intended applicants from Russia was up to 852 from 15. There were also substantial increases in the numbers of Cubans and Indians.
Only 1,400 applications for international protection were actually filed in Slovenia in the first three months. In the same period last year, 1,576 such applications were filed.
Slovenian police returned most of the illegal migrants to Croatia, that is 79 out 98, which compares to 376 out of 416 in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, most migrants were returned to Slovenia at the airport (66) and from Italy (29). The latter number increased from 16 last year.
As of 19 April, a total of 583 international protection applicants were residing in Slovenia. Most of them were accommodated at the two asylum centres in Ljubljana.
There were just over 1,000 of those in the country who had been granted international protection, according to the Government Office for the Support and Integration of Migrants.
Over the past decade, Slovenia recorded the highest number of illegal migrants in 2015, topping 36,200. The number then dropped to around 1,100 in 2016 but rose again to hit more than 16,000 in 2019. After two years of decline during the pandemic, the figure again topped 32,000 last year.