Posted on October 17, 2023

Croatia: Sharp Rise in Illegal Immigration Since Schengen Entry Last Year

Euronews, September 29, 2023

The Balkan nation has recorded the jump nine months after it joined the Schengen area, the world’s largest visa-free zone.

Croatia has recorded a 140% year-on-year increase in illegal immigration, according to new figures released by authorities.

On Thursday, Border Police Chief Zoran Niceno announced that the sharp rise has seen more than 54,500 people crossing the Croatian border illegally this year so far.

Croatia, which is home to nearly 3.9 million inhabitants, joined the Schengen area in 2023. It also has the European Union’s longest external land border – some 1,350 kilometres in total.

It applies strict checks on arrivals crossing from its non-EU neighbours in the Balkans, but is nonetheless well known as one of the preferred passages on the Balkan route used by hundreds of thousands of men, women and children fleeing conflict in 2015 and 2016.