Number of refugees in Bulgaria has dropped significantly – report

Number of refugees in Bulgaria has dropped significantly – report

In the past six months, the number of refugees and migrants in Bulgaria has decreased significantly, according to Interior Ministry figures cited by local media.

By May 18 2017, there were 3128 people from foreign countries seeking protection in Bulgaria, the official statistics said.

A total of 2104 people were accommodated in refugee centres, 562 in Interior Ministry Migration Directorate centres, while 462 were staying in accommodation elsewhere.

From January 2017 to mid-May, a total of 1007 foreigners found to be staying in Bulgaria illegally were removed from the country.

Of these, close to 49 per cent were from Afghanistan and just more than 28 per cent were from Iraq.

According to the Bulgarian Interior Ministry records, about 3000 other migrants managed to leave the country illegally.

Within the same timeframe, 547 people illegally in the country were arrested either while trying to enter or leave Bulgaria.

Of the people accommodated at State Agency for Refugees centres, 863 were Syrians, 27 per cent were from Afghanistan, and 21 per cent from Iraq.

In gated migration centres, people from Afghanistan made up the largest number, 151, followed by Pakistanies, 125, Iraqis, 66 and Syrians, 59.

Should the Interior Ministry continue the removal from the country of illegally-resident foreigners, estimates are that by the end of 2017, there would be between 1500 and 2000 refugees in Bulgaria, a country with an overall population of about 7.1 million./ΙΒΝΑ