EU: number of irregular migrants back to pre-pandemic levels, according to Frontex

Nearly 200,000 illegal migrants arrived in the European Union last year, the highest figure since 2017, Frontex, the European border agency, announced on Tuesday January 11.

The number of irregular arrivals was 57% higher than in 2020, when restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic drastically reduced the arrival of migrants, but also 36% higher than in 2019, said Frontex in a press release. The number of irregular arrivals in the EU in 2021, “just under 200,000“, is now superior “at pre-pandemic levelsadded the agency, based in Warsaw. “This suggests that factors other than the lifting of global mobility restrictions are driving the increase in migration pressure“, Estimated Frontex.

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In 2021, a new factor has been the influx of migrants, mostly from the Middle East, via Belarus, in what the EU believes is an operation orchestrated by the Minsk regime. Frontex has also noted a sharp increase in migrant arrivals through the Central Mediterranean, the Western Balkans and Cyprus. The main route taken by migrants was the central Mediterranean, through which 65,362 illegal immigrants, almost a third of the total, arrived. Year on year, the increase was 83% for this route, according to Frontex.

The Western Balkans saw a 124% increase compared to 2020, reaching 60,540 irregular migrants. In Cyprus, 10,400 arrivals were registered, 123% more than the previous year. In 2021, Syrians were the most numerous among irregular migrants, followed by Tunisians, Moroccans, Algerians and Afghans.

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