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Asylum applications down

Switzerland received fewer asylum applications in 2009 than in the previous year, the Migration Office announced on Thursday.

A total of 16,005 applications were submitted, 3.6 per cent down on 2008.

For the first time Nigeria, with 1,786, headed the list of countries from which the most applications came – a rise of nearly 81 per cent. The office said many of these had come from other European countries, which had been more badly hit by the economic crisis. However, only a negligible number qualified for asylum status.

The second most important country of origin was Eritrea, with 1,724 applications, and third was Sri Lanka with 1,415.

The number of cases handled in the first instance rose by 56.6 per cent, from 11,062 to 17,326. and agencies

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