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IN SHORT

Illegal migrants: Massive drop in 2005

IMPROVED police work and far better cooperation with Ukraine since the change in government in Kiev are behind the large drop in the number of illegal immigrants entering Slovakia so far this year, the SITA news agency reported.

Border police chief Michal Borgula and Migration Office head Bernard Priecel declared that the number dropped to one-fifth of 2004's first quarter figure.

The first quarter of 2004 saw 3,000 illegal migrants enter the country, while that figure dropped to about 600 in the corresponding period this year. Of 11,500 migrants who applied for asylum in 2004, 350 remain in the asylum process.

Since the establishment of the Slovak Republic in 1993, around 650 people have been granted asylum in Slovakia. More than half of these have, however, left for other EU countries.

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