Slovenia records tripling of illegal migrations in 2022

A police officer and soldier walk along a barbed wire fence on the Slovenian-Croatian border surrounded by lush green vegetation.

Slovenian police caught 32,042 illegal migrants on the border last year, an increase of 214% on the year before and the highest figure since the migration crisis in 2015, largely due to a huge influx of persons from Afghanistan, Burundi, India, Pakistan and Russia.

Afghanistan was the biggest single source country with 6,010 migrants recorded, nearly double the number of a year ago, show statistics released by Slovenian police.

More than 5,000 came from Burundi, whose nationals had barely registered in previous years. They took advantage of a loophole, since closed, that allowed them to travel visa-free to Serbia, from where they proceeded to the EU.

Indian nationals can still travel visa-free to Western Balkan countries and they accounted for the third largest group of migrants. Almost 3,900 entered the country last year, up from only 73 in 2021.

Pakistan and Bangladesh have long been major source countries, but the number of migrants from both increased substantially last year. Police caught almost 2,400 Pakistanis, up from 1,500 a year ago, and 2,100 Bangladeshis, more than double the figure recorded last year.

Russians also rank high on the list with over 1,800 nationals intercepted, as do Iraq (over 1,500) and Cuba (almost 1,500).

Migrants by source country in 2022

Almost all those who have been apprehended by the authorities, nearly 31,500 individuals, expressed their intention to request international protection, a stark contrast to 2021, when there were under 6,000 such cases.

However, much like in recent years the vast majority leave the country before they submit a formal asylum request. Fewer then 7,600 formal requests for asylum were lodged.

The number of people Slovenia received from foreign law enforcement remains low but it rose as well, from 248 to 427, whereby the figures for neighbouring countries changed little.

Austria returned 58 (down from 70 the year before), Italy 65 (up from 26 the year before) and Croatia 13 (compared to 15 the year before).