The whereabouts of around 40 per cent of all the migrants telling Swiss authorities they intended to claim asylum in the country are completely unknown, authorities have confirmed.
In some centres, up to 90 per cent of the new arrivals lied, absconded or ran away – internal document from the Federal Migration Office, uncovered by Sonntags Zeitung, revealed over the weekend.
In the northeast canton – or administrative division – of Thurgau, the papers suggested that between 80 and 90 per cent of the migrants were disappearing. In Altstätten in the Rhine Valley, it was around 50 per cent.
Under European rules, migrants are only allowed into Switzerland if they say they want to claim asylum there. They are then allocated to a particular reception centre where they will stay as their claim is processed.
Federal Migration Office spokeswoman Céline Kohlprath later confirmed the disappearance rates to news agency ATS, acknowledging that in the last three months between 20 and 40 per cent of asylum seekers have left the system, and their whereabouts are now unknown.
She argued that the phenomenon was not new but admitted the proportion was increasing.
In February of this year, German authorities admitted that they did not know the whereabouts of some 130,000 migrants who had been logged as arriving in their country.
Of the 1.1 million migrants who registered as asylum seekers in Germany in 2015, “about 13 per cent did not turn up at the reception centres to which they had been directed,” the government said in a written reply to a question from a lawmaker from the Left Party.
Europe’s migrant crisis is showing little signs of stopping.
According to a new report by the International Organisation for Migration, 272,070 migrants have entered Europe by sea so far in 2016, compared to 354,618 new arrivals in the first eight months of 2015.
Despite the fact that boat crossings from Turkey to Greece are slowing, migrants are still travelling almost unimpeded from African to Italy.
Austria is now seeking tough new powers to deter migrants and turn them back at their borders within one hour, increasing the chance they will travel from Italy towards Switzerland instead.
Albert Rösti, president of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) argued yesterday that the current situation was “a massive security risk”. He exclaimed: “The borders must be closed down!”