Up to 19,000 have fled to Britain

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The Independent Online
SINCE last September, the United Kingdom has accepted 125 medical evacuees - including 10 children - from the former state of Yugoslavia. The six new children will bring the total to 16 children and 131 medical evacuees, writes Simon Midgley.

Britain has also offered a temporary haven to 1,000 former detainees and tortured or vulnerable men - mostly Bosnian Muslims - and more than 3,000 of their dependents.

To date, 1,169 people have arrived on this programme - the Bosnia Project - and more than 1,000 more are expected. Many are in reception centres in North Berwick, Newcastle, Dewsbury, London, Oxford, Cambridge and Rugby. Since the war began in 1990, the Home Office estimates that 50,000 people from the former Yugoslavia have entered Britain, but it is not known how many remain.

After Britain imposed visa restrictions on entry for refugees from the former Yugoslavia in November 1992, 7,800 temporary visas have been granted. While 7,000 refugees have applied for political asylum, only a handful of applications have been granted.

The number of refugees in the UK on visas, evacuated for medical reasons or accepted on the Bosnia Project is 9,094. There could be at least another 10,000 former Yugoslavians here on expired or expiring visas or staying on illegally.

The total number of former Yugoslavians seeking asylum in Europe is 819,815. The number of refugees and displaced people in the former Yugoslavia is 3,807,506.