According to the German Ministry of the Interior, between January and November last year, Germany detained 3,979 migrants who illegally entered the country from the Czech Republic, representing a slight increase from 2018.
Most often, the illegal migrants come from Turkey (499), Syria (455), Ukraine (314), Moldova (286), and Serbia (211).
Iraq (205), Kosovo (186), Vietnam (172), Russia (155), and Albania (138) rounded out the rest of the top ten countries of origin for migrants detained at the border.
In 783 out of the 3,979 cases, German authorities decided to return migrants to the Czech Republic and in 46 cases they were returned to their country of origin or a third country. The statistics, however, do not include information on whether the migrants actually returned.
But the German numbers differ from the Czech ones.
The Czech Foreign Police said at the end of January that last year Czech police detained 266 migrants who wanted to use the Czech Republic as a transit country, which is 75 more year-on-year.
The migrants often traveled from Slovakia or by air from Schengen countries and mostly headed to Germany.
The difference between Germany’s 3,979 cases and the Czech Republic’s 266 cases is caused by a different methodology. For example, German statistics include Turkish citizens living in Germany who do not have travel documents when returning from their homeland or citizens of Ukraine or Moldova who want to work illegally in Germany.
On the other hand, it is clear that even if only 660 migrants from Syria and Iraq—a pair of countries from which people are fleeing war and political instability who crossed into Germany from the Czech Republic are counted—that number is still almost 2.5 times higher than the total Czech number of illegal border crossings.
“The German Ministry of the Interior assesses illegal migration based on different criteria than the Czech Republic. The Police of the Czech Republic regularly receive information concerning illegal migration from Germany. In the vast majority of cases, the people’s stay in Germany is considered illegal, and they must return to Czechia. During the subsequent assessment by the Police of the Czech Republic, however, it is concluded that the persons meet the conditions for entry and residence in the Czech Republic,” Renata Grecmanová, spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Police, said while trying to explain why the difference in numbers has arisen.