Austria starts checks at Slovak border to stop illegal migrants

by IANS |

Vienna, Sep 29 (IANS) Austria has started checks at its border crossings with Slovakia to prevent people-smuggling, Interior Minister Gerhard Karner said here.

Karner said that the controls will be enforced for an initial period of 10 days at 11 border crossings between the two countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

The checks came into effect at 12 a.m. on Thursday.

Noting that controls have been in place at Austria's border crossings with Hungary and Slovenia since September 2015, Karner said this latest move is aimed at ensuring that human traffickers do not use Austria as an alternative.

"We have to be faster than the smugglers," he said.

The number of asylum seekers in Austria has increased significantly in the past few months.

According to the country's Interior Ministry, more than 56,000 asylum applications were registered in Austria between January and August this year, an increase of 195 per cent over the same period last year.

Most of the applications were filed by Indian nationals, many of whom travelled to Austria with the help of smugglers, according to Austrian broadcaster ORF.

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