Number of asylum-seekers down 90 percent since last year

August 18, 2017

Asylum-seekers in the no man’s land between Hungary and Serbia. Photo: Origo.hu

The number of refugees admitted to Hungary decreased by nearly half in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period last year, reports Magyar NemzetAccording to data from the Office of Immigration and Nationality, 46 people were recognized as refugees by the end of June this year, compared to 87 last year. Among them were 12 Iranians, nine Pakistanis, nine Afghans, seven Iraqis, four Syrians and two Nigerians.

Requests for refugee status also saw a major decrease: in the first half of 2016, 22,491 people applied for refugee status in Hungary. This year, the number of registered asylum seekers dropped to 1,979, a 90 percent decrease. Of those still submitting requests for refugee status, 40 percent are Afghan (812), followed by Iraqis and Syrians. 26 Turks also applied for refugee status following purges in the country after a failed coup attempt there last year.

The number of persons under subsidiary protection, defined as those persons who do not qualify as refugees but cannot be returned to their country of origin due to risk of suffering serious harm, grew from 165 in the first half of last year to 275 this year.

While the number of asylum procedures has decreased dramatically in a year’s time, the vast majority of those submitted are rejected by Hungarian authorities. Of the 2,417 asylum procedures launched in the first half of this year, 1,870 were rejected. By contrast, 40,000 procedures were terminated or rejected in the first half of last year.

According to the data, there are far fewer asylum-seekers arriving in Hungary’s refugee camps as well, only 366 this year compared to 1,720 in the first half of 2016. Fewer attempts are being made to cross the border illegally: Hungarian police reported 1,701 instances in the past month.