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Asylum requests fall

The number of people seeking asylum in Switzerland dropped slightly in 2007 to 10,387 people - a 1.4 per cent decline over the previous year.

The Federal Migration Office said that for the first time in years the largest group of applicants did not come from Serbia, but from Eritrea.

Some 16 per cent of asylum-seekers came from war-torn Eritrea, with 1,662 applications. It was followed by Serbia, with 953 requests, Iraq, Turkey and Sri Lanka.

The total number of people in the asylum-seeking process stood at 40,653 at the end of December, almost ten per cent down on the 2006 figure.

Tougher immigration legislation came into effect at the beginning of this year.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR