Asylum seekers on the rise in Switzerland

Applications for asylum are on the rise in Switzerland Keystone Archive

Requests for asylum in Switzerland have risen by more than 17 per cent in 2001 compared with the previous year.

This content was published on January 8, 2002 minutes

According to the Federal Office for Refugees, the number of people seeking asylum last year in Switzerland rose by 3,052, to stand at 20,663.

Officials said the increase was probably due to tougher economic conditions pushing migrants to seek a better life in European countries.

Nearly 17 per cent of requests for refugee status - 3,425 - came from citizens of the former Yugoslavia. Applications from Turkish nationals came in second, just ahead of those from Bosnia Herzegovina and Iraq.

Last year, the Federal Office for Refugees examined 21,963 applications for asylum - down 42.7 per cent on the previous year.

The number of asylum seekers leaving the country also fell considerably over the same period - down almost 70 per cent to 15,823.

As of the end of last year, 98,363 people were registered as having gained asylum or were actively seeking asylum in Switzerland.

swissinfo with agencies

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