Asylum requests in Switzerland dropped sharply last year. At the same time, a record number of asylum seekers have given up on the process, many choosing to leave the country.
Unconfirmed figures from the NZZ am Sonntagexternal link show that around 27,500 people requested asylum in Switzerland in 2016, which is 30% fewer than in 2015 when applications were at a ten year high.
The numbers for November 2016 already point to around 25,000 requests, as this data shows.
One of the reasons for the drop is that Swiss border guards at the country’s southern border are sending back asylum seekers to Italy due to tighter asylum rules.
Migration officials say this year’s falling numbers are due to the closure of the Balkans migration route and the fact that many asylum seekers have another destination than Switzerland.
Meanwhile, 8,166 asylum seekers in the asylum process “disappeared” by the end of November 2016, a record number according to the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper.
A State Secretariat for Migration SEM spokesman told the newspaper that “the greatest number” of those who had disappeared had left Switzerland. They had been informed of the low likelihood of being able to stay.