90,000 asylum claims in Austria in 2015: Govt

Austria registered 90,000 asylum claims in 2015, government figures showed on Tuesday, a rise of more than 200 percent compared to 28,000 the year before and just 11,000 in 2010.

AFP| Updated: Jan 12, 2016, 16:28 PM IST

Vienna: Austria registered 90,000 asylum claims in 2015, government figures showed on Tuesday, a rise of more than 200 percent compared to 28,000 the year before and just 11,000 in 2010.

Afghans topped the list of requests by nationality with 25,202 asylum claims closely followed by 25,064 fleeing the civil war in Syria and 13,258 Iraqis, the Interior Ministry data showed.

The number was however considerably under the record of 170,000 set in 1956 when the Soviet Union crushed an uprising in Budapest and large numbers of Hungarians fled to neighbouring Austria.

Austria last year became a major transit country for hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and elsewhere travelling up from Greece through the Balkans.

The migrants and refugees seek mostly to travel onwards, notably to Germany and Sweden, but Austria still has one of the highest asylum claim rates per capita in the 28-nation European Union.

This has contributed to a rise in popularity for the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) and to tensions within the ruling centrist coalition of Chancellor Werner Faymann.

On Monday Austria authorities said that Germany has been returning around 200 migrants every day since January 1, mostly Afghans as well as Moroccans and Algerians who wanted to apply for asylum elsewhere.

This appeared to be a knock-on effect from Sweden and Denmark`s decision last week to tighten controls on their borders. Austria meanwhile has been returning some migrants entering from Slovenia.

A police spokeswoman in the German state of Bavaria said however that the daily number being returned was below 100 but varied considerably. She said Germany was "acting in accordance with current legal provisions".

Currently between 1,000 and 2,000 migrants seek to enter Germany from Austria on a daily basis, according to the Austrian authorities.