Checks carried out in Slovenia along the border with Italy | Photo: ANSA/Mauro Zocchi
Checks carried out in Slovenia along the border with Italy | Photo: ANSA/Mauro Zocchi

Slovenia saw an increase in migrant and refugee arrivals in 2022. More than 32,000 people crossed into the country irregularly last year, according to national police. That's three times as many as in 2021.

Data recently released by the Slovenian central police administration shows that the number of migrants and refugees who were intercepted at the country's borders without a visa was more than 32,000. The number of intercepted people increased roughly threefold -- in 2021, a total of 10,198 people had been intercepted.

Most of the people intercepted were nationals of Afghanistan, India, Burundi and Cuba. The arrivals from Burundi and Cuba are believed to have been facilitated by visas granted by Serbia to nationals of these two countries, who are then able to continue northwards along the Balkan route.

Migration increased significantly in the border area near the city of Koper, where attempts at unauthorized entry increased by over 55%, police said. The city is located on the Mediterranean coast between Croatia and Italy -- many migrants and refugees hoping to make it to Western Europe via the Balkans try to cross from Croatia and Slovenia to Italy.

Many Russians and Ukrainians seeking safety in Slovenia

In Slovenia, the number of requests for international protection also rose significantly last year -- by over 450%: To 31,500 in 2022 from 5,650 in 2021.

Among those requesting temporary international protection in Slovenia, Russians and Ukrainians accounted for almost all of the 7,600 requests in 2022.

In recent months, Slovenian authorities have recorded a rising number of Russian nationals trying to enter the country without permission to do so. Observers say this is most likely an attempt to evade forced recruitment for the war in Ukraine.


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