SARAJEVO, April 15 (Xinhua) -- The Service for Foreigners' Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has reported 16,190 migrants in 2020, a 45-percent decrease year-on-year, said the Council of Ministers of BiH on Thursday.
In a report to the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Security said that only 244 migrants, or 1.5 percent of the total, had applied for asylum in 2020.
The Border Police of BiH have registered 11,658 migrants attempting to enter the country illegally, a 34-percent increase year-on-year, said the report.
The Border Police and other state agencies said recently that they are preparing for a new influx of migrants in spring, when the weather becomes more favorable.
According to the Ministry of Security, the country aims to improve the management of migration and asylum issues by strengthening the capacities of relevant institutions, such as the Border Police, Service for Foreigners' Affairs, and the Sector for Immigration.
Due to the migrant crisis, BiH is facing security and humanitarian challenges, which are additionally complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of virus transmission among migrants.
According to the Bosnian branch of the Danish Refugee Council, an international non-profit organisation, 73 migrants are currently positive for COVID-19. They are all settled in the reception center Miral in Velika Kladusa, a town on the northwestern border of BiH.
According to the Ministry of Security, around 8,500 migrants and asylum seekers are currently staying in the country. Most of them stay in reception centers, but up to 3,000 live in abandoned houses and makeshift accommodations.