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More asylum seekers granted refugee status

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More asylum seekers granted refugee status
Refugee centre in Austria. Photo: APA/Helmut Fohringer
12:22 CEST+02:00
Austria has increased the number of asylum seekers it granted refugee status to. Last year, 4,345 people were granted refugee status, up from 3,925 in 2012.

Two thousand people were granted subsidiary protection in 2013  - they did not qualify as refugees but it was acknowledged that they would face the risk of suffering serious harm if they were to return to their country of origin.

Austria took in more refugees per head than the UK, France, and Germany, but less than Malta, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland. 

The largest number of asylum seekers in Austria came from Afghanistan (36 percent), then Syria (16 percent), and 14 percent from Russia (the republic of Chechnya).

Last year, there were around 17,500 applications for asylum in Austria, according to Anny Knapp of Asylum Coordination Austria (ACA).

ACA is critical of the treatment of Syrian asylum seekers in Austria. Knapp said in a press release that many, particularly those with serious health issues, "are inadequately cared for when they arrive".

She added that those who were granted refugee status were often not helped to integrate, but were housed temporarily in remote areas, far from their relatives, and were not given enough help in seeking permanent accommodation. 

Sweden took in almost 20 percent of the EU's asylum seekers in 2013, more than any other country in the European Union.

The total number of Europe's asylum seekers shot up from 116,200 in 2012, to 135,700 in 2013.

The statistics were published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on Thursday.

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