Bulgaria’s Border Police: Illegal Immigration Reached Critical Rate in 2013Society | November 12, 2014, Wednesday // 11:57| views
Photo by BGNES
For the first time since Bulgaria’s EU accession, the level of illegal immigration reached a critical rate in 2013, according to a report of the Border Police Chief Directorate of the Interior Ministry.
According to the report, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency, the number of illegal crossings of the Bulgarian-Turkish border increased gradually throughout 2013, reaching a peak of 3657 detained immigrants in October.
In the period January – October, 2014, a total of 2620 people were awarded permanent residence permits, while some 20 192 were granted long-term residence permits, according to the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency.
In 2013, permanent residence permits were issued to 2 753 people and a total of 20 121 people were granted long-term residence permits.
In 2013, the attempts to illegally cross the Bulgarian border increased dramatically to a rate of 14 637, or over six times the rate in 2012.
99% of the illegal crossings of the Bulgarian border occurred at the Bulgarian-Turkish border, where the number of arrests increased by 511% from 2012 and by 1487% from 2011.
The largest number of immigrants were from Syria (57%) and Afghanistan.
There was also a substantial increase in the number of illegal immigrants from Africa, especially Algiers and Mali.
African citizens rarely hide their nationality or their aim of finding better living conditions in Western Europe, according to the report.
Many of them do not apply for asylum in Bulgaria because they will be returned to the country if they get arrested in another EU Member State.
Most of them seek to reach Germany, France, or Sweden and to apply for asylum there.
Istanbul keeps being a gathering point for immigrants, where traffickers tell them to pick one of several options for entry into the EU, depending on what they can afford.
The options offered by traffickers include entry into Greece via the Maritsa River, which is becoming less and less popular, entry by sea from Turkey’s west coast to the Greek Aegean islands or straight to Italy, or entry via the Bulgarian-Turkish border.
The report predicts an increase in illegal immigrants entering Bulgaria via the Black Sea border.
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