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Asylum seekers More than half disappear before end of process

An asylum seeker shows his refugee route from his home country to Switzerland

(Keystone)

Switzerland’s top migration official says 50% to 60% of those seeking asylum in the country vanished over the summer.

Mario Gattiker, who oversees the State Secretariat for Migration, told reporters on Saturday that the asylum seekers often vanished from view just before or soon after filing official request between June and August.

He said the people seem to have continued on their way north after crossing Mediterranean routes, a result of some of the recent changes in European migration policy.

"Some destinations are more privileged than others, depending on the policies carried out there," he said during interviews with several Swiss newspapers.

Heading north

Switzerland consistently applies the law and, as a result, asylum seekers know “they will be returned” to their homeland, he said.

By contrast, he added, people fleeing for Germany hope to be able to stay longer while authorities decide what to do with them and think they may a better chance of finding employment.

"Between 20% and 40% of applicants had disappeared just before they formally filed for asylum," said Gattiker, adding that another 20% are "in the first days after the filing of the application."

His agency expects 30,000 requests for asylum in 2016, only three-quarters of the 40,000 it said it was expected at the start of the year.

"We are indeed far from an emergency situation," Gattiker said.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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