First-time asylum applicants in EU up 64% in 2022

In 2022, a total of 881 200 first-time asylum applicants (non-EU citizens) applied for international protection in European Union countries, up by 64 per cent compared with the 537 400 in 2021, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on March 23.

After a considerable drop in 2020 (417 100), the numbers increased for two consecutive years but still have not reached the peaks registered in 2015 and 2016 (over a million applicants in both years) related to the war in Syria, Eurostat said.

In 2022, the EU members granted 4 331 200 temporary protection statuses to non-EU citizens fleeing Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion.

On December 31 2022, a total of 3 826 600 non-EU citizens benefitted from temporary protection in the EU.

“The difference between the two previous figures corresponds to the termination of the temporary protection status because former beneficiaries of temporary protection meanwhile left the country or obtained another status,” Eurostat said.

Almost half (46 per cent) of the first-time asylum applicants in 2022 had citizenship of an Asian country, while 22 per cent had citizenship of an African country, 17 per cent had citizenship of a non-EU country and 14 per cent had citizenship of a country in North or South America. 

Syria continues to be the main country of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU since 2013.

In 2022, Syrians lodged 131 970 first-time applications (15 per cent of the total number of first-time applications in the EU).

Afghanistan was the second main country of citizenship for the fourth consecutive year (113 495, or 13 per cent of the EU total).

Applicants from Venezuela and Türkiye each represented almost 6 per cent of the EU total, with 50 050 and 49 720 applications, respectively.

Colombia was the fifth main country of citizenship in 2022, totalling 42 420 applicants (5 per cent of the EU total).

With 217 735 first-time asylum applicants registered in 2022, Germany continued to be the EU country with the highest number of applicants, accounting for one-quarter of all first-time applicants in the EU (25 per cent).

It was followed by France (137 510, or 16 per cent) and Spain (116 135, or 13 per cent), ahead of Austria (106 380, or 12 per cent) and Italy (77 200, or 9 per cent). These five EU members together accounted for three-quarters (75 per cent) of all first-time asylum applicants in the EU.

Compared with the population of each EU country, the highest number of registered first-time asylum applicants in 2022 was recorded in Cyprus (23 864 first-time applicants per million people), ahead of Austria (11 848) and Luxembourg (3 711).

In contrast, the lowest numbers were recorded in Hungary (5 first-time applicants per million people), followed by Slovakia (92) and Czech Republic (127).

In 2022, in the EU as a whole, there were 1973 first-time asylum applicants per million people, Eurostat said.

(Archive photo: EC Audiovisual Service/Dan Gutu)

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