Europe is facing a migrant invasion on an unprecedented scale, as 185,000 asylum seekers flood ashore from North Africa in just three months, the equivalent of 2,000 a day. Despite their claims to be overwhelmed by migrants, it appears that Italy and Greece are simply herding the vast majority through their territory and on into the rest of Europe, including the UK.
According to the Express, the Home Office is accepting 81 asylum seeking claims a day, totaling 7,300 in the first three months of this year. That takes the official number of people seeking asylum in the UK to around 30,000, although thousands more are likely to be here illegally.
In the same period, and despite claims that they are being overwhelmed by the migrant crisis, Italy and Greece accepted just 18,000 applications between them, provoking fears that the two counties are giving free passes to migrants to travel onwards into Europe, contrary to EU rules.
Earlier this week, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi threatened to issue temporary Shengen zone visas to migrants landing on his country’s shores if no deal is struck in Brussels. The Shengen area grants free movement across much of mainland Europe with no border controls in the way.
Alp Mehmet, of MigrationWatch, said: “This huge number doesn’t surprise me. The official figures are catching up with what we already know – numbers are growing massively.
This is why each country simply taking in a few is not going to work. It is the tip of the iceberg and the more we take in the more the iceberg will grow.
“We have really got to think about how we stem the tide.”
The European migration figures have been published by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics service. They show that 184,815 first-time asylum seekers arrived within the first three months of 2015 alone; a massive increase on the same period last year, in which fewer than 100,000 arrived.
Gerard Batten, of Ukip, said: “This massive increase shows that there is a never-ending supply of migrants, whether they are genuine refugees or just economic immigrants coming to the EU.
“Italy and Greece appear to be acting simply as a gateway to more attractive parts of Europe, including Britain.
“The only way to tackle this flood is to stop them at the EU’s borders. If they are allowed to cross into Europe it will serve to encourage many more to come.”
The biggest group by country of origin were 48,900 Kosovans, 90 percent of whom headed to either Germany or Hungary as their destination of choice. The remaining 10 percent went to Austria or Finland.
The two next largest groups were 30,000 Syrians and 13,000 Afghans fleeing fighting in the Middle East.
According to Eurostat, 7,335 people registered asylum application in Britain between January and March of this year, the majority from Pakistan, Eritrea and Syria. That figure represents a four percent annual rise, and is more than 16 other EU countries combined.
Germany accepted the most – a whopping 73,000 applications, followed by Hungary, which accepted a massive 33,000 applications. Italy came a distant third, registering just 15,000 applications, despite 50,000 people turning up on its shores this year.
The figure indicates how many migrants are simply passing through Italy, despite the EU rules stipulating that migrants seeking asylum must register their application in the first EU country they reach.
Greece, meanwhile, registered just 2,610 despite it’s claims to be struggling with an influx of people. However, the country is stymied by debt problems, and conditions have become so bad that EU judges have ruled that Britain must process asylum seekers’ claims here rather than sending them back to Greece, as failure to do so would breach the migrants’ human rights.
Migrants aren’t only using shipping as a means of entering the EU – this morning it has been reported that a body found on the roof of an office building in London is believed to have been that of a stowaway from Johannesburg, South Africa who hung on to the undercarriage of a British Airways plane for more than 8,000 miles before falling to his death.