Latest Asylum Trends

Latest asylum trends – June 2018

Reference month:   Citizenship:   


Source: EASO EPS, June 2016 – June 2018. The visualisation above provides an overview of the key indicators regarding the situation of international protection in the EU+ in the past 25 months. The size of the different circles in the countries of origin is proportional to the volume of applications lodged in EU+ countries, the colour of the circle reflects the recognition rate at first-instance (blue - high, red - low). The shade of the country reflects the stock of pending cases at the end of the selected month. By clicking on a circle, the evolution of these key indicators for the citizenship selected is displayed in the lower panel.

Asylum applications in the EU+  

In June, some 51 300 applications for international protection were lodged in EU+ countries, about 1 600 fewer than in May1.  In the first half of 2018, some 301 390 applications have been lodged in the EU+, decreasing by 15 % compared to the first half of 2017 2.  

Consistent with previous months, 1 out of 10 applicants had previously lodged an asylum application in the same reporting country; in June, there were 5 386 repeated applicants. The highest concentration of repeated applicants was among nationals of Kosovo (in June, almost a third of all Kosovan applicants were repeats), Serbia and Russia (1 in 4 applicants each). Remarkably, and despite the decrease in the overall number of applications lodged in the EU+ countries, the number of repeated applications increased in the first half of 2018: 31 507, 15 % more than the first six months of 2017. This means that, out of all applicants in the EU+, a growing proportion had already been present in the EU+ for some time.

Approximately 2.5 % of the applicants were self-claimed unaccompanied minors (UAMs)3.  As usual, most UAM applicants were from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Pakistan; however, the highest concentration was among applicants from Vietnam (15 % of all Vietnamese applicants claimed to be UAMs), Gambia and Eritrea (11 % each).  

The main countries of origin of applicants in June were Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Nigeria. Of these, Syrians and Afghans lodged slightly fewer applications, whereas nationals of Iraq (+ 182, + 6 %) and Pakistan (+ 303, + 14 %) lodged more applications than in May. More developments took place beyond the five most common countries of origin. For example, Venezuelan applicants lodged far fewer applications than in May (- 921, - 30 %), but applications were still at a much higher level than at the beginning of the year. Other countries with fewer applicants were Bangladesh (- 283, - 20 %), Colombia (- 269, - 19 %) and Somalia (- 243, - 21 %). Before June, the number of Colombian applications had been on the rise for five consecutive months, while level of applications for Bangladeshis and Somalis, as for most other citizenships, had been fluctuating throughout the year. In contrast, Turkish nationals lodged 2 157 applications for international protection (+ 32 % from May), the highest level since the EPS data exchange was established, and rising for the third successive month. Sudanese applicants also lodged more applications (+ 216, + 36 %). 

The decrease in the number of applications lodged throughout the first half of 2018, did not occur for all countries of origin. For instance, among the top 10, Venezuela and Georgia – two visa-exempt countries – were considerable exceptions: both had, in fact, twice as many applicants compared to the same period in 2017. Conversely, all the other countries in the list decreased, with the exception of Iran (+ 124), almost on par with last year. Other considerable increases – beyond the top 10 – took place for Turkish applications (+ 2 590 or + 39 %), Colombian (+ 3 227, tripling the numbers of 2017), Palestinian (+ 741 or + 37 %) and El Salvadorian (+ 1 021 or + 68 %). Particularly noteworthy is that citizens of Latina American countries have been seeking international protection in much larger numbers in 2018, in fact double the number of applications lodged during the same period in 2017.  


Focus on the most relevant countries of origin of applicants

Syria –  Syrians continued to lodge most applications in the EU+: some 6 375 in June, very much in line with the previous two months. About three-quarters of the claims were lodged in just two EU+ countries. Syria was one of the few countries of origin for which the stock of first-instance pending cases increased: + 2 016 compared to May. This trend of a moderate but steady increase has been taking place since February 2018, following almost two years of constant backlog reduction. In the first six months of 2018, Syrian applicants had a first instance recognition rate of 86 % (37 130 decisions issued), split almost equally between refugee status and subsidiary protection. This recognition rate was five percentage points lower than that in the same period in 2017 (95 618 decisions). 

Afghanistan – Some 3 760 Afghan nationals lodged applications for international protection in June, broadly comparable with the previous month, but considerably higher than any other month in 2018. The overwhelming majority of applications were lodged in just three EU+ countries. Although remaining the country of origin with the most unaccompanied minors among applicants, their number decreased to 170 in June, the lowest this year. The first-instance recognition rate for Afghan cases over the first six months of the year was 39 % (of 36 320 decisions issued), with the majority of decisions granting subsidiary protection. This recognition rate was nine percentage points higher than for decisions issued in the first six months of 2017 (112 735).

Iraq –  Iraqi nationals lodged 3 179 applications in June, about 180 more than a month ago, and the lowest level for the past year. With the exception of January, when applications lodged by Iraqi nationals were at their highest level, applications have been largely stable throughout 2018. In contrast, in June the number of repeated applicants was the highest so far in 2018: 422, or 13 % of all Iraqi applications in June. For the 22 502 decisions issued in the first half of the year, the first-instance recognition rate was 36 %, 20 percentage points lower than the same period a year earlier (66 947 decisions).

Nigeria –  In June Nigerian citizens lodged 2 331 applications, 50 or so more than in May. Since January when Nigerians lodged large numbers of applications, monthly levels have been largely stable. About 9 % of first-instance decisions issued over the past six months (17 705 in total) granted EU-regulated forms of protection, with the majority of positive decisions granting refugee status. This recognition rate was almost on par with last year (8 % of 22 382 decisions). 

Turkey –In June, some 2 157 Turkish nationals lodged applications for international protection in the EU+, increasing by a third compared to May, and reaching the highest level ever registered for this citizenship within the EPS data exchange. Numbers of Turkish nationals seeking international protection in the EU+ has been on the rise throughout 2018 – particularly over the past two months – and one of the few citizenships with more applications lodged in 2018 than a year earlier. Among important countries of origin, Turkish applications had among them the lowest number of self-claimed unaccompanied minors: in fact, there were none in June, and only 20 so far this year. Notwithstanding increased numbers of applications, at the end of June the stock of first instance cases pending remained stable at 11 130, up by just a few hundred compared to a year earlier (10 809). The recognition rate for the 7 363 decisions issued in the first half of 2018 was 42 %, up from 26 % in the same period of 2017 (6 533 decisions issued). 

Number and type of decisions issued in first instance in EU+ countries in May 2018

EU+ countries issued 46 772 decisions at first instance in June, about 500 fewer than in May and reduced for the third month in a row, and the lowest output this year 4.

Applicants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan received most decisions, jointly accounting for slightly less than half of all decisions issued in the EU+. The volume of decisions received by each citizenship group was comparable to May, except for a noteworthy drop which concerned Syrians (5 524, - 12 %). In the first six months of 2018, some 313 698 decisions were issued at first instance, a decrease of nearly a half compared to the same period in 2017 (578 794 decisions). This drop in the number of decisions was distributed across most countries of origin, with the notable exception of Bangladesh (+ 2 241 or + 28 %), Georgia (+ 3 433 or + 78 %) and Turkey (+ 830 or + 13 %), all receiving more decisions than a year earlier.  

The overall EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued in the period January-June was 32 %, down from 42 % during the same period of 2017. Positive decisions more often granted refugee status (63 %) than subsidiary protection (37 %). Among citizenships with the most decisions issued 5,  the highest recognition rates were for nationals Syria (86 %), Eritrea (83 %) and Stateless applicants (60 %). In contrast, the lowest recognition rates were for nationals of Gambia, Ghana and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2 % each). 

Stock of pending cases at the end of June 2018

Pending cases are an important measure of the workload that national asylum authorities face, as well as of the pressure on the national reception systems. At the end of June, there were 420 238 applications awaiting a decision in first instance, around 3 000 fewer than at the end of May 6.  Nonetheless, it must be noted that, at the end of March 2018, there were some 916 760 applications awaiting a final decision in the EU+ 7.  A comparison between EASO and Eurostat data thus shows that the pressure on national systems to process asylum cases has partially been transferred from the asylum authorities to judicial bodies 8

Syria (44 598, + 2 016) remained the country of origin with most applications pending at first instance, and increasing for the fifth consecutive month. Nigeria (31 924, - 1 580) and Afghanistan (30 473, - 1 279), in contrast, continued to experience a decrease in the number of applications awaiting a decision. As in the previous month, the largest increase took place for Venezuelans (21 402, + 2 061).

At the end of June 2018, more than half of all cases awaiting a decision in the first instance had been pending for longer than six months. 

This page is produced by EASO’s Information and Analysis Unit (IAU) on the basis of monthly data exchanged under the Early Warning and Preparedness System (EPS). The data shared with EASO by the EU+ countries are provisional and unvalidated, and therefore may differ from validated data submitted to Eurostat (according to Regulation (EC) No 862/2007).

Date of release: 2 August 2018

Asylum applications include all persons who have lodged or have been included in an application for international protection as a family member in the reporting country during the reporting month.  

First-instance decisions include all persons covered by decisions issued on granting EU-regulated international protection status (refugee or subsidiary protection) following a first time or repeated application for international protection in the first instance determination process.

Stock of pending cases includes all cases for which an asylum application has been lodged and are under consideration by the national authority responsible for the first instance determination of the application for international protection (until the first instance decision has been issued) at the end of the reference period (i.e. last day of the reference month).  It refers to the “stock” of applications for which decisions in first instance are still pending.

The EU+ recognition rate includes EU-regulated forms of protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) and excludes national protection forms (humanitarian reasons). It is calculated by dividing the number of positive first-instance decisions (granting refugee status or subsidiary protection) by the total number of decisions issued.


[1] The EU+ is composed of 28 EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland.  Data on applications for international protection were available for 27 EU+ countries.  Monthly data from two EU+ countries were missing in both May and June.   
[2] The discrepancy is likely to be narrower, due to differences in data missing for the two reference periods.  
[3] Not all EU+ countries report on the number of UAMs, thus the total is likely higher. 
[4] First-instance decisions include all persons covered by decisions issued on granting EU-regulated international protection status (refugee or subsidiary protection) following a first time or repeated application for international protection in the first instance determination process. Data on first-instance decisions were available for 27 EU+ countries.  
[5] To avoid sensitivity to low numbers.
[6] Data on pending cases were available for 25 EU+ countries
[7] Source: Eurostat. 
[8]  An indication of the cases pending at second and higher instances (i.e. in appeal or review) may be drawn by comparing the number of cases awaiting a decision at first instance (EPS data), with those pending at all instances of the administrative and/or judicial procedure (Eurostat data).