Growing Number Of Asylum Seekers In Serbia

According to information available to the Serbian government, 2.723 persons requested political asylum in Serbia last year.

Most asylum seekers came from Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan and Algeria. 86 percent of the asylum seekers were men. Among the asylum seekers there were 744 children, and 501 of them came without parents or close relatives.

Serbia is a transit country for people, seeking asylum in the European Union. Some of them request asylum even after having crossed the Serbian border. This allows them to be housed in one of the centers for asylum seekers where they are provided with shelter, food and cloths.

However, many leave the centers without waiting for their asylum requests to be processed after having made contact with people smugglers who promise them safe transfers over Croatian or Hungarian border.

Serbian police has been attempting to identify as many people smugglers as possible aiming to stem their highly profitable illegal business.

Serbia Closer To Visa Regime

During the previous year, a record number of asylum applicants from the countries of West Balkans was made, which in a great measure jeopardizes the visa-free regime of those countries, said expert on visa issues Aleksandra Stieglmeier of non-government organization Initiative for European Security (ESI) for Bosnian daily “Dnevni avaz”

According to her, Serbia holds the record for number of asylum applicants. In 2011, 13.980 false asylum seekers went from Serbia to EU countries, placing it on 5th place in the EU. Far behind were Macedonia (20), Bosnia and Herzegovina (28) and Albania (30).

Despite all the measures that have been taken, data for 2012 are even worse and the rise in numbers of false asylum seekers was registered in all West Balkans countries.

Serbia still tops the list with 15.135 false asylum seekers in first ten months of 2012. Bosnia comes fourth out of five countries in the region with 4.095 potential asylum seekers.

“Out of those who come from Serbia, nearly 90 percent are members of Roma population, followed by Albanians, and from Bosnia there are Roma, Bosniaks and Serbs, much like Montenegro”, says Stieglmeier.

She says that Germany is the most vocal in demands to return the visa regime, and that she leads the group of countries who seek for the quick and simple way of cancelling the visa-free regime.

There is a real danger that this would happen, says Stieglmeier and adds that the procedure will be such that the visa-free regime is suspended for six months.

Still Record Numbers Of Asylum Seekers From Serbia

During the month of November, with 1.306 asylum applications, most asylum seekers who try to seek asylum in Germany once again came from Serbia. That number is, however, two times lower in comparison with October, when Serbian citizens sent 2.673 applications, reported German Federal Department for Migrations and Refugees.

After Serbia, most asylum applications in Germany come from Syria, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russian Federation, Iran, Macedonia, Iraq, Pakistan and Kosovo.

“Federal Department for migrations and asylum seekers brought certain mesures at my request, to work against the strong wave of refugees from Serbia and Macedonia”, said German federal minister of interior Hans-Peter Dietrich.

Great number of “fake asylum seekers” from Macedonia and Serbia, among which, according to German data, more than 90 percent are Roma population, was also mentioned as the possible reason for EU to return the visa regime for citizens of Serbia and Macedonia. “Fake asylum seekers” applied for asylum in EU countries because of alleged discrimination in Serbia. However, as the Serbian police sources claim, the only motive for applying for asylum was the intention of the seekers to obtain the financial support given by the EU countries while they are in the asylum seeking procedure.

Germany To Bring Back Visas For Serbia?

German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung claims that Germany has already
filed a request in Brussels to cancel visa-free regime for certain
countries in the Balkans.

Reason for that is that most asylum claims in that country were filed
by Balkan countries’ citizens who are trying to take advantage of the
asylum institution in Germany.

“Number of asylum seekers from Balkan countries has increased
dramatically. With the 49 percent increase in September, the total
number of asylum requests in Germany reached 9950,” writes
Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

More than two thirds of asylum claims are made by citizens of Serbia,
Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.

However, among 505 asylum seekers whose requests were approved in
October, not a single person is from these four countries.

In the last month there was a particularly large number of requests
from Serbian and Macedonian citizens.

German Minister of the Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich has already
talked about “misuse of the right to asylum” on several occasions.
He thinks that there has to be a possibility for EU to cancel
visa-free regime for these countries..

Invasion Of Illegal Immigrants

Serbian police have arrested 21 illegal immigrants in course of a single day.

Ten immigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia have been discovered at the main bus station in the eastern town of Pozarevac while another eleven illegals, fleeing Syria, were found in a freight train carriage at the Presevo border crossing in the south of the country.

After taking statements from all illegal immigrants, the police have transported them to the centre for asylum seekers in the western town of Banja Koviljaca.

Serbia is a transit country for people, seeking asylum in the European Union. Some of them request asylum even after having crossed the Serbian border. This allows them to be housed in one of the centres for asylum seekers where they are provided with shelter, food and cloths.

However, many leave the centres without waiting for their asylum requests to be processed after having made contact with people smugglers who promise them safe transfers over Croatian or Hungarian border.

Serbian police has been attempting to identify as many people smugglers as possible aiming to stem their highly profitable illegal business.