Illegal migration figures growing incessantly
Slovenia has decided to introduce controls on its borders with Croatia and Hungary citing heightened security risks due to organised crime and the escalation of tensions in the Middle East, but the number of illegal migrants trying to enter the country has been rising steadily as well.
The Slovenian police recorded over 44,750 attempts at entering the country illegally in the first nine months of 2023, a significant increase over the 18,430 seen in the same period last year.
The popularity of the Balkan route is growing, as the number of detected illegal crossings has been growing consistently from one month to the next since the start of the year: from just under 2,500 in January to over 8,600 in September.
Nearly 14,000 illegal migrants came from Afghanistan in the first nine months of 2023, almost 7,000 from Morocco, and just under 4,600 from Pakistan. Over 3,000 came from Bangladesh, 2,700 from Russia and just over 2,000 from India.
A vast majority of over 77% were intercepted by the Novo Mesto police in southeastern Slovenia and some 17% in the territory of the Koper Police Department in the west.
Compared to last year, the number of those who said upon entry that they would request asylum increased as well. In total, nearly 43,300 said they would request asylum in the first nine months of 2023, almost triple the 15,000 in the same period of last year.
The number of Afghans who expressed the intention to request asylum far outnumbered other nationalities both in 2023 and 2022: almost 13,800 and 2,800, respectively. This year, Moroccans were the second largest group (7,000), followed by Pakistanis (4,500), Bangladeshis (3,200) and Russians (2,700).
However, the number of asylum requests actually filed is much lower. In the first nine months of 2023, over 5,300 people requested asylum in Slovenia. In mid-October there were just over 550 asylum seekers in Slovenia and nearly 1,050 persons who had been granted international protection.
So far this year, the Slovenian police force returned just over 220 illegal migrants to foreign authorities, most to the Croatian police. Meanwhile, foreign authorities returned over 300 illegal migrants to Slovenia.