Prague, Jan 17 (CTK) – A total of 1,475 foreigners sought Czech asylum in 2016, 50 fewer than in 2015, while asylum was granted to 148 applicants and another 302 were given subsidiary protection for a limited period, according to data released by the Interior Ministry’s asylum and migration department.
Most asylum seekers last year were from Ukraine (506), Iraq (158) and Cuba (85).
Ukrainians have for a long time prevailed among the groups of asylum seekers, but the number of Ukrainian applicants dropped by 188 last year compared with the preceding year.
On the other hand, the number of Iraqi applicants increased by 120.
The increase is linked with a project of resettlement of Christian refugees from Iraq, which Prague launched last year and within which 89 Iraqi refugees arrived in the Czech Republic.
However, the government eventually scrapped the project after a part of the Iraqis left the Czech Republic for Germany and others returned back to Iraq.
The number of Cuban applicants for Czech asylum also dropped year-on-year, by 43.
The other strongest represented ethnicities among the asylum seekers were the Chinese, Vietnamese, Armenians, Russians, Georgians and Azeris. The number of applications submitted by these nationals ranged from 49 to 68 last year.
Unlike in 2015, Syrian applicants were not among the ten strongest-represented asylum seekers’ ethnicities.
In 2015, Syrians were the second strongest group with 134 applications for asylum.
In 2016, 148 people were granted Czech asylum and another 302 were granted subsidiary protection that usually goes to the people who were not granted asylum but who would face a danger in their home country now.
In 959 cases, the Czech authorities turned the asylum applications down or halted the proceedings.
A total of 773 applications waited for being settled as of the end of the year.
In 2010-2013, the annual number of asylum seekers stood below 1,000, but it crossed the limit in each of the past three years.
In the previous decades, however, even several thousands applicants a year were no exception. The record number of applications, more than 18,000, were submitted in 2001.