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Denmark's asylum figures continue dramatic fall

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Denmark's asylum figures continue dramatic fall
Denmark's asylum numbers are less than a third of what they were before border controls were put in place. Photo: Claus Fisker/Scanpix
14:07 CET+01:00
Just 42 people sought asylum in Denmark last week, according to new figures from the Integration Ministry.
That figure was 17 fewer than the week before and represents the lowest weekly total in 2016. 
 
With two weeks to go in the year, 5,959 people have sought asylum in Denmark in 2016. By comparison, roughly 21,000 asylum seekers came last year. 
 
The dramatic drop-off is in large part due to Denmark's border control measures, which were put in place on January 4th and since extended numerous times. 
 
Despite the likelihood of ending the year with less than a third of the number of asylum seekers who came in 2015, the Danish government has continued to enact a host of measures to deter migrants from coming to the country, including a controversial rule allowing police to confiscate their valuables to help pay for their accommodation.
 
It has also introduced legislation to allow it to turn back asylum seekers at its borders if the number of migrants spikes, and has made it harder for migrants to obtain permanent residency. 
 
Additionally, Denmark announced last month that it had indefinitely suspended a programme to receive around 500 refugees per year through the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR).
 
The nation's integration minister, Inger Støjberg, said in Brusses last week that there is “no doubt” that Denmark will try to keep its border control measures in place well in to 2017
 
“The issue specifically is what will happen after February 12th [when the current extension expires, ed.]. I see it as essential that Denmark continues to have border control," Støjberg said after a meeting with ministers from Germany, Sweden, Austria and Norway.
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