More than half a million asylum applications in EU+ since start of 2019

More than half a million asylum applications were lodged in the EU+ during the first nine months of 2019, a 10 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2018, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) said on November 19.

The EU+ is composed of 28 EU member states plus Norway and Switzerland.

In September about 59 300 applications for international protection were lodged in the EU+,1 up by six per cent from August, but well below the July 2019 total, when the most applications (62 917) were lodged since March 2017.

In September 2019, Syrians, Afghans and Venezuelans lodged the most applications. These three citizenships continued to account for a quarter of all asylum applications in the EU+.

Afghan nationals lodged more than 5600 applications in September, the most since December 2016, of which almost 60 per cent were lodged in just two EU+ countries.

Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, Colombia, Iran, Albania, and Nigeria completed the list of the top 10 countries of origin of applicants.

Applications lodged by Pakistanis showed the largest increase among these citizenship groups against the previous month (+ 21 per cent), followed by Albanians (+ 16 per cent) and Afghans (+ 14 per cent). Iraqis were the top 10 citizenship group with the largest month-to-month decrease (- 7 per cent).

For the third consecutive month, Turkish nationals lodged many more applications than in any other month during the first half of the year. Similarly, Syrians and Somalis also applied for asylum at levels much higher than earlier in the year.

Most of the main citizenships of origin lodged more applications in January-September in 2019 compared to the same period a year ago. This was especially the case for Latin American nationalities.

For instance, Venezuelans – the third main citizenship in January-September this year – lodged 41 per cent more applications than a year ago, whereas Salvadorians increased by 43 per cent, Hondurans by 83 per cent, Colombians by 102 per cent and Nicaraguans by 154 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.

In contrast, some other nationalities applied for asylum in lower numbers compared to last year; these included Iraqis, Eritreans (each – 39 per cent), Sudanese and nationals with unknown citizenship (each – 37 per cent).

In September 2019, nationals from visa-exempt third countries accounted for a quarter of all applications lodged in the EU+ (13 593). This was below the monthly average for 2019, but still higher than in any month in recent years. The majority (59 per cent) of these applicants continued to be nationals of countries in Latin America.

About three per cent of all asylum applications were lodged by self-claimed unaccompanied minors (UAMs) in September. Almost a third of self-claimed UAMs were nationals of Afghanistan, followed by Pakistanis, Syrians (eight per cent each), Somalis (five per cent), Venezuelans and Eritreans (four per cent each). For citizenships lodging at least 1 000 applications, the largest concentration of UAMs in September was among Afghans (11 per cent out of all Afghan applicants), followed by applicants from Somalia and Guinea (7 per cent each).

Repeated applications continued to account for eight per cent of all applications lodged in the EU+ in September 2019.

The share of repeated applicants was particularly high among nationals from the Western Balkans countries: 34 per cent of Serbian applicants, 33 per cent of Kosovar applicants and 24 per cent of applicants from North Macedonia had already applied for asylum in the same EU+ country previously.

The same applies to Russian and Armenian applicants (23 per cent each), as well as asylum seekers from Ghana and The Gambia (23 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively), EASO said.

(Photo: Unicef/Tomislav Georgiev)



The Sofia Globe staff

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