The number of asylum applications is falling but at a

The number of asylum applications is falling but at a high level

Before the chancellor and interior minister left for Morocco, the government published declining asylum numbers.

Vienna. 2022 was a year of record migration: With more than 100,000 asylum claims, even the numbers from the crisis years 2015 and 2016 were overshadowed, only Cyprus had higher claim numbers relative to Europe’s population. Statistics suggest that a large proportion of asylum seekers will move quickly to other countries; exactly how many and where there are refugees not seeking basic care is unclear. E: In addition to the large number of asylum seekers, tens of thousands of Ukrainians sought protection in Austria because of the Russian invasion; As per the current situation, more than 50,000 displaced people from Ukraine are receiving basic care from the state. Including asylum seekers, as of early February 2023, there were over 91,000 migrants in basic care. For comparison: at the beginning of 2016 there were less than 80,000.

After months of intense debates, the government is now announcing the first success stories: on Sunday, the Ministry of the Interior announced new numbers – and in fact they show a new drop. According to the department, 4,288 asylum applications were made in January 2023; compared to the previous month, in which more than 7,000 applications were made, this corresponds to a drop of around 40 percent. The numbers had already dropped by the end of 2022.

“The brake on the asylum is picking up”

According to the Ministry of the Interior, the drop is due to measures that were also taken with Austrian involvement. For example, the abolition of the Serbian visa-free regime for Indians and Tunisians would reduce the number of applications because they would travel further west of Serbia with smugglers. Background: Indians were one of the strongest nations in Austria’s asylum statistics last year, but they hardly received asylum. According to the Ministry of the Interior, another reason for the slowdown in the situation is the “intensive controls by the Austrian police”, “also in Hungarian national territory within the framework of Operation Fox”. In all, “the asylum brake would come into effect,” the ministry said.

Alone: ​​Asylum numbers are still relatively high. It is true that applications may have declined in January – compared to January 2022, there was an increase of around a quarter. E: In January 2023, almost three times as many asylum applications were made as in January 2021. The department of the interior, however, explains that the last three weeks of January, in particular, brought a sharp decline – which should continue in February: “An additional 40% drop from January 2023 can be expected.” The majority of applications in January were made by asylum seekers from Morocco, however statistically their chances of receiving a positive asylum decision are slim.

That’s why Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (both ÖVP) want to talk about one topic in particular during their two-day trip to Morocco this week, the Interior Ministry explained: illegal migration and “readmission”. (kk)