(Reuters) - The number of detected irregular border crossings at the external borders of the European Union rose more than 70% in the January-October period, according to preliminary calculations published Monday by Frontex.
The European Border and Coast Guard Agency detected about 275,500 unauthorized entries at the bloc's external borders in the first 10 months of 2022, up 73% year-on-year and the highest level recorded since 2016.
In October alone, about 36,500 people illegally crossed EU borders, 47% more than in October 2021.
The office said the Western Balkan route remained the most active, with nearly three times as many detections in October as a year ago.
This was mainly due to people abusing the region's visa-free access as well as repeated attempts to cross into the EU by migrants, primarily from Burundi, Afghanistan, and Iraq, already present in the Western Balkans, said Frontex.
The second-busiest migration entry into the EU was the Central Mediterranean route, which saw an increase in illegal border crossings of almost 50% from last year.
In contrast, there were fewer detections along the Western Mediterranean, Western African, and Eastern Land Border routes.
Illegal border-crossing through the Channel route from the EU into the United Kingdom increased by 70% in the first 10 months of 2022, with 62,323 detections.
(Reporting by Dina Kartit, edited by Tomasz Janowski)