According to the latest data from the Interior Ministry, the number of asylum applications in the country is beginning to decline compared to the previous year. In February 2023, around 2,600 applications were made, which is 600 fewer than in the same month in 2022. However, the number of applications in January 2023 was even higher than in January 2022. The ministry expects a further decline in March.
In February 2023, the total number of applications fell significantly compared to January 2023, with almost 4,300 applications in January and 2,600 in February. In the same period, last year, there were 600 more applications.
A new query from the Ministry of the Interior to the Liberal MP Hannes Amesbauer revealed that 3,371 deportations were carried out last year. Out of the total, more than 8,000 people left the country voluntarily. As part of the Dublin procedure, there were around 1,100 deportations.
Amesbauer, who intervened in a broadcast, criticized the government for only deporting a small number of illegal immigrants. “With almost 110,000 illegal immigrants who have sought asylum, only 1,100 foreigners (+262 to 2021) were brought back to another country that they have already passed through in accordance with Dublin rules,” he said.
Interestingly, the query response also revealed that 54 people could not be deported because they refused a corona test.
The cost for forced deportations in 2022 was a total of 2.2 million euros. The government conducted 31 charter flights, with Nigeria being the most frequent destination with ten flights. 133 deportations were carried out through charter flights, and 769 people were deported through scheduled services. The other shipments out of the country were not made by air.
The declining number of asylum applications is a positive development, but the government still faces challenges in dealing with illegal immigrants who have already sought asylum in another country according to the Dublin rules. The cost of forced deportations is also a concern for taxpayers.