Requests for asylum in Switzerland rose 18.1 per cent in the first three months of 2011, statistics from the Federal Migration Office reveal.
From January through to the end of March, 4,371 people lodged claims for asylum in Switzerland.
In March alone 1,874 claims were lodged - 612 more claims than in March 2010, the FMO said in a statement on Tuesday.
The FMO said the fine weather in March and events in North Africa were responsible for the rise in asylum claims.
During the three-month period Eritreans lodged 724 claims, an increase of 35.3% compared with a year earlier. Claims from Nigerians decreased 31.6 per cent to 428.
Tunisians lodged 251 asylum claims, followed by Macedonians, 190, Serbians, 187, Syrians, 164, Sri Lankans, 158, Kosovans, 141 and Iranians, 138.
The FMO said 713 people had been granted asylum during the period, while a further 9,893 cases had yet to be decided.
swissinfo.ch and agencies