Thousands of migrants whose asylum applications were rejected in Northern Europe are returning to Italy because it is ‘easier’ to obtain European Union residency documents, according to claims from regional officials and aid workers.
Authorities in the northern Italian province of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, near the border with Austria and Slovenia, are appealing to the government for support after several thousand rejected asylum seekers have arrived in the region this year, reports the BBC.
The mayors of Gorizia, Trieste, Udine, and Pordenone have written to Italy’s interior minister to express their concern, as they witness the new migrant flow from Northern Europe to Italy – hitherto in the opposite direction – with migrants requesting asylum travelling from Germany, Austria, France, and Belgium.
The broadcaster spoke to one asylum seeker from Afghanistan who said he had spent three years in Germany before his asylum claim there was rejected.
“I didn’t have any other chance, so I came to Italy… I think they will give me papers in one year or one-and-a-half years,” he said.
Noting that most of those arriving come from Pakistan and Afghanistan, Adalberto Chimera, who works for Catholic aid organisation Caritas, told the BBC: “They come to Italy because Italy defines the whole of Afghanistan and part of Pakistan as places where asylum can be considered – using criteria which are broader when it comes to political asylum.”
All But Two Provinces in Afghanistan Are Safe for Deportation: Norwegian Government https://t.co/HDm4nibcaf
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 16, 2017
In August, Breitbart London reported that the Norwegian government declared all but two provinces in Afghanistan as safe for deportation with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration stating deportations to the country should continue.
Italy is struggling to cope with its growing migrant population and has seen more than 100,000 sea arrivals this year alone. The country has recently imposed a code of conduct on NGO ships wishing to dock and unload migrants at her ports, but remains the busiest migrant route across the Mediterranean after the European Union signed an agreement with Turkey over illegal arrivals to Greece.
However, Greece is set to see a mass return of migrants from Germany and other EU countries who arrived in Greece to have their asylum applications assessed, resuming a practice that was suspended when German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited migrants in unlimited numbers to travel to Germany and Northern Europe in 2015.