The number of arrests for illegal migration in Bulgaria in the first half of 2017 was 80 per cent lower than in the first six months of 2016, going by Interior Ministry figures.
Since the beginning of 2017, a total of 1461 people were arrested for illegal migration by June 30. By the end of June 2016, the number had added up to 7134.
At the same time, official figures show refugee camps in Bulgaria as almost empty.
As of August 3 2017, a total of 1513 were being accommodated in refugee camps in Bulgaria, meaning 29 per cent of capacity.
In Interior Ministry Migration Directorate centres, there were 490 people, in facilities that have a total capacity of 940.
Most of those taken into custody were arrested inside the country, not at its borders, according to the Interior Ministry figures.
Of the 1461 people detained in the first half of 2017, a total of 827 were found after having crossed the border – a place that has a fence and where hundreds of police are deployed, daily Sega noted in a report.
The largest proportion of those detained came from Afghanistan, 145 people in June.
Although pressure on Bulgaria’s border with Turkey has decreased, that on Serbian remains, going by the statistics. Since the beginning of the year, 1880 foreigners have been captured on the road to Western Europe.
From the beginning of the year to June, the Refugee Agency has given a total of 1046 people protected status. More than 12 000 proceedings have been suspended or terminated, probably because the applicants were not to be found in Bulgaria.
The Interior Ministry reported an increase the return of illegal migrants – since the beginning of the year, the authorities have returned 1400 people. More than 41 per cent were Afghans. The forced return of migrants was recorded as one of the priorities in the May 2017 Bulgarian government’s governance program.
The flights to retun migrants are being carried out jointly with the FRONTEX European border service./IBNA