Migrants Seeking Protection in Bulgaria Dwindled by Half in JanuarySociety | February 15, 2017, Wednesday // 12:46| views
File photo, EPA/BGNES
The number of migrants seeking protection from Bulgaria dipped to 421 people in December of last year, nearly half the figure of the previous month.
As many as 815 people took the step in January, according to fresh data from the State Agency for Refugees.
In January, the applicants were from 14 different countries and, unlike in previous months, did not include stateless persons.
Refugee status was given to 34 people from one country, while humanitarian status was granted to 29 people from two countries
As many as 243 nationals of 11 states were denied protection in January.
The agency's statistics can only include figures on migrants who have been detained or (voluntarily) registered in Bulgaria, but not of those who try to cross the country irregularly without contacting authorities.
Afghans were again the biggest group to file applications, with 188 requests in January. The second-largest number was that of Syrians (88) and Iraq (54), followed by Pakistan (54) and Bangladesh (22).
As of January 31, 2016, Afghans still made up the the biggest group of international protection candidates on record (since 1993), with 24 310 having asked for protection, followed by 20 267 Syrians, 18 501 Iraqis, 2858 Pakistani nationals and 2097 stateless persons.
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