More than half a million illegal immigrants entered the European Union last year

  • MORE than half a million illegal immigrants poured into the EU last year despite a landmark deal to end the crisis.
  • Border agency Frontex’s first full figures for 2016 have revealed there were 503,700 detections of illegal border crossings.
  • Frontex boat directs migrants on a dinghy to safety last year

The vast majority came via the Mediterranean into Italy and Greece.

The ongoing wave comes despite a deal struck with Turkey in March to close down access to Greek islands, which was hailed as end to the migration crisis.

Tough new controls and returns saw a big drop of 79% in the number arriving in Greece, down to 182 500 – with Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis making up the largest share.

 

 Official figures say around half a million illegal immigrants came into the EU last year

Official figures say around half a million illegal immigrants came into the EU last year

But at the same time, a record 181,000 crossed the central Mediterranean from Africa – a 20% rise from the previous 12 months.

The significant majority on this route were from West African countries, with Nigerians made up the largest portion, followed by nationals from Eritrea, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, and Gambia.

The 2016 annual total is less than a third of the massive 1,800,000 estimated to have entered the EU in 2015.

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