Requests for asylum in Switzerland fell by one-third in September compared to the previous year, according to the State Secretariat for Migration. Just under 14,000 people asked for asylum in the first nine months, the lowest level since 2010.
The department said on Thursdayexternal link that 1,409 asylum applications were filed in Switzerland in September – 33% fewer than the same month in 2016. In September 2015, there were just over 4,500 requests made.
Since the beginning of the year, 13,916 applications have been registered. This is the lowest level since 2010, when there were 11,170 cases.
The office said the reduction was due a ‘significant decline in migration through the central Mediterranean region since mid-July’, adding that Switzerland was not a privileged destination country for migrants arriving in Western Europe.
This year requests have fallen sharply after authorities closed the Balkan land route used by thousands to flee conflicts in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Last month, 259 requests were made in Switzerland by Eritreans, 113 by Syrians, 96 by Afghans, 72 by Sri Lankans and 70 by Somalis.
Although it is not a member of the European Union, Switzerland has accepted asylum-seekers who reached Greece and Italy as part of the EU’s relocation programme. So far, it has taken in 1,300 people since the beginning of the scheme in September 2015.