Economic crisis cuts number of illegal immigrants

12th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

Frontex said numbers had dropped from 24,000 in the first quarter of 2008 to 20,200 over the same period this year.

Rome -- The number of illegal migrants stopped at European Union borders has dropped 16 percent in one year because of the economic crisis, the European border security agency said last week.

Frontex said numbers had dropped from 24,000 in the first quarter of 2008 to 20,200 over the same period this year.

"The economic crisis has reduced the number of jobs and the possibility of finding one. It has reduced hope and therefore the will of those involved to take on all the difficulties is weaker," Frontex deputy director Gil Arias Fernandez told reporters.

Separate figures for the number of people arriving in Sicily in southern Italy, including on the island of Lampedusa, for January 1 to July 5, 2009 also showed a marked drop in arrivals.

Some 6,760 immigrants arrived in 2009 compared with 14,800 in 2008, a fall of 54 percent.

The figures only partly reflect the impact of a controversial agreement between Italy and Libya that allows the Italian navy to intercept illegal migrants at sea and return them to Libya, from where they set off for Europe.

The agreement has had "a very strong dissuading effect," said Arias Fernandes.

"When you see people who have spent a lot of money on their journey, who have faced great danger during the sea crossing, come back having been expelled from the country of arrival, you think twice before undertaking a similar voyage," he added.

Libya is a major transit country for people from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

AFP/Expatica

0 Comments To This Article