Asylum applications sharply up

The number of asylum applications submitted in 2011 was up by about 45 per cent on that in 2010, the Federal Migration Office reported on Thursday.

This content was published on January 19, 2012 - 18:00 and agencies

At 22,551, the number was the highest since 2002.

The office attributed the sharp increase to the crisis in North Africa, and the opening of migration routes to Europe in March.

The top three countries from which the asylum seekers came were Eritrea (3,356), Tunisia (2,574) and Nigeria (1,895).

The office said Tunisian asylum seekers had practically no chance of being allowed to remain in Switzerland, and that 324 had returned home voluntarily. Forced repatriations to North Africa were suspended during the upheavals there, but a special flight to Tunisia had again been organised in December.

The number of people granted asylum was up 7.6 per cent on 2010, at 3,711.

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