There were about 200,000 illegal immigrants registered in the European Union in 2021, the highest number since 2017, according to a Frontex report.
The number of illegal arrivals was 57% higher than in 2020, when the pandemic-related restrictions sharply reduced the influx of migrants, but 36% higher than in 2019.
“The number of illegal entries into the European Union in 2021 was just below 200,000 and is now above the pre-pandemic level,” the EU said in a statement. “This indicates that factors other than the lifting of restrictions on global movement are responsible for exacerbating the migrant crisis.”
According to the EU, in 2021, a new factor was the influx of migrants, mainly from the Middle East, through Belarus. Frontex also sees significant growth in arrivals across the central Mediterranean, the western Balkans and Cyprus.
The main route was the central Mediterranean, through which 65,362 migrants passed, that is, almost a third of all arrivals. According to Frontex, the growth on this “road” is 83% from year to year.
The arrival of illegal immigrants to the Western Balkans increased by 124% compared to 2020, to 60,540 people. Cyprus recorded 10,400 arrivals, up 123% from last year.
In 2021, Syrian citizens made up the largest group, followed by migrants from Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Afghanistan.