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Number of asylum application in Austria has shot up

The number of applications for political asylum in Austria has risen considerably in the last year.

Some 17,415 applications were made in upper-Austria – that's a 20,8 percent increase compared to 2011. A further 533 asylum seekers are currently put up in Traiskirchen, near Vienna.

The number of refugees at the refugee camp in Traiskirchen has fallen in the last couple of months to just one third of what was over 1,000 asylum seekers just two months ago.

Out of 17,415 applications made last year, 4,003 were made in Afghanistan. Applications from Russia (3,098) followed and in third place, there were 1,827 applications from Pakistan. There were 922 application by Syrian nationals (422 in 2011), an increase due to the civil war.

Syrians have a good chance of staying in Austria, too. Last year, 81 percent of applicants from the country were granted asylum. The other countries which have a majority of applications granted are for example Iran (73 percent) and Somalia (60 percent). In 2012, out of 15,819 legally valid cases, 3,505 applications for asylum were granted.

The home office said the clear rise of almost 21 percent was explained by the "situation in the countries of origin." There was an increase every single month compared to last year, and 2,117 applications were made in October only. The most remarkable figure is the increase since 2010, when only 11,012 applications were made. On the other hand, there have already been higher peaks in the past – with 39,354 applications made in 2002, for instance.

The reduction of the number of active cases has stalled so that there are more open cases at the end of the year (21,806 in 2012) than the previous year (20.580 in 2011) for the first time in several years.

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