Budapest, February 3 (MTI) – Last year nearly 30,000 foreign nationals submitted applications for asylum to Hungary’s immigration authority, the head of the organisation told a press conference on Friday.
Zsuzsanna Végh said that the number was well below 177,000 such applications in 2015, but warned that “we should not entertain the illusion that the problems are solved”.
In 2016, 29,432 people were registered as asylum applicants and 18,236 as illegal migrants, Végh said. She noted that a year earlier, when the migration crisis broke out, the number of illegal entrants in Hungary had reached 400,000.
Concerning the whole of the European Union, Végh said that the number of illegal entrants had gone down from 1.8 million in 2015 to 500,000 in 2016. The number of asylum applications has not dropped because member states registered 2015 arrivals last year. In Germany, for example, 745,000 applications were submitted in 2016, two thirds of which by people who had arrived in 2015 or earlier, she argued.
As to the ethnicity of asylum seekers in Hungary, Végh said that a large part of them (11,052) were Afghans, followed by Syrians (4,979), Pakistanis (3,873), Iraqis (3,452) and Iranians (1,286).
Végh insisted that a large part of the asylum-seekers submit applications in disregard of the regulations and leave the country before their case is evaluated.
Last year, the immigration authority rejected 4,675 applications, and granted asylum to 432 applicants. Fully 4,580 foreign nationals were expelled from the country and 3,694 others were detained. She added that 8,771 entrants, mostly families, children without parents, or elderly people had been provided accommodation at reception centres. Hungary had spent a total 6.7 billion forints (EUR 21.5m) on refugee services in 2016, up from 5.4 billion forints the previous year, Végh said.