Latest Asylum Trends
Latest asylum trends – November 2018
Reference month: Citizenship:
Source: EASO EPS, November 2016 – November 2018. The visualisation above provides an overview of the key indicators regarding the situation of international protection in the EU+ in the past 26 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 November, over 56 300 applications for international protection were lodged in the EU+. This was the second highest number in 2018 after October, when more than 60 500 applicants were recorded.1 Between January and November 2018, some 578 652 citizens sought asylum in the EU+, 12 % fewer than in the same period in 2017.
Similar to previous months, 9 % of all asylum applicants had previously lodged an application in the same reporting country, which amounts to a total of 5 299 repeated applicants. Most repeated applicants continued to be from Iraq and Afghanistan, but the highest concentrations of repeated applicants were from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia.2 Almost one in three applicants from these countries of origin was a repeat.
Applications lodged by self-claimed unaccompanied minors (UAMs) accounted for just over 3 % of all applications.3 More than a fifth were citizens of Afghanistan (22 %), but other considerably represented nationalities included Pakistani (8 %), Iraqi and Eritrean (7 % each). However, the highest concentration of self-claimed UAMs continued to be among applicants from Vietnam (19 % of all Vietnamese applicants claimed to be UAMs), followed by Eritrea and The Gambia (11 % each).4
Two thirds of all applications in the EU+ in November 2018 were lodged by citizens of sixteen countries of origin: Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Albania, Venezuela, Georgia, Nigeria, Guinea, Russia, Eritrea, Bangladesh, Colombia, and Somalia. Importantly, Venezuelans and Georgians lodged increasing numbers of applications compared to the month before (+ 9 % each) – both of these countries currently benefit from Schengen visa exemptions.
Countries of origin
Syria – In November 2018, Syrians continued to lodge the most applications for international protection in the EU+ (5 587). Nevertheless, the number of applications decreased to the lowest level in the past seven months. Although Syrians applied in almost all EU+ countries, the majority of applications were lodged in just two Member States. Although the number of first-instance decisions issued to Syrians decreased somewhat from October, it remained relatively high (the second highest in 2018). In contrast, the number of pending cases at first instance continued to decrease albeit at a low pace, reaching 46 272 at the end of November. The recognition rate at first instance in the past six months (June – November 2018) was 88 %, similar to the preceding six-month period.
Afghanistan – Afghan nationals lodged 4 785 applications in November, slightly fewer than in October, but still a high number compared to the rest of 2018. For the third successive month, Afghans continued to lodge the second highest number of applications in the EU+. Three quarters of all Afghan applicants sought international protection in just three Member States. In November, 4 381 decisions were taken at first instance, in line with October. At the same time, the number of cases awaiting a decision at first instance decreased slightly to 30 547. Between June and November 2018 nearly half of all first instance decisions were positive, up by 10 percentage points from the previous six months.
Iraq – Iraqis lodged 3 827 applications for international protection, in line with October. The majority of the Iraqi applicants lodged asylum claims in just two EU+ countries. Some 13 % of those applying in November did so repeatedly in the same country. The number of first-instance decisions remained stable at 3 532, as did the stock of pending cases at 26 040. Between June and November 2018 some 40 % of all decisions on Iraqi cases were positive, slightly higher than in the previous six months (38 %).
Iran – Iranians lodged 3 076 applications for international protection in November. This number represented a small decrease compared to October but was the second highest in 2018. In the past six months (June – November 2018), the level of Iranian applications reached over 15 000, increasing by two thirds compared to the previous six months. This development has been attributed at least partially to the visa-free entry regime for Iranians in Serbia, which was in place between September 2017 and October 2018. In November 2018, almost two thirds of all Iranian applications were lodged in two EU+ countries. Some 2 023 decisions were issued at first instance, increasing for the fourth month in a row. However, in line with the high number of applications lodged, the stock of pending cases continued to increase, rising by 5 percentage points from October and reaching 15 234. The recognition rate of Iranian applicants in the past six months was 38 %, decreasing slightly from the previous half a year. Nearly all positive decisions continued to grant refugee status (93 %), while the share of decisions granting subsidiary protection remained very low (7 %).
Number and outcome of first instance decisions
EU+ countries issued 49 435 decisions at first instance in November, slightly fewer than in October but higher than in the preceding five months.5 Similar to previous months, most decisions continued to be issued to applicants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan, again together accounting for 41 % of all first-instance decisions. Compared to October, somewhat fewer decisions were issued to Nigerian (- 7 %) and Syrian applicants (- 3 %). However, the most considerable relative decreases in decisions were for applicants from Ukraine (- 17 %) and Albania (- 16 %).6 In contrast, there was an increase in the number of first-instance decisions issued to citizens of Turkey (+ 13 %), Sudan (+ 11 %), Algeria (+ 9 %), Iran (+ 8 %), and Eritrea (+ 7 %).
The overall EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued between June and November was 35 %, increasing by two percentage points from the preceding six months. Some two thirds of all positive decisions granted refugee status, and the rest – subsidiary protection. Among citizenships with most decisions, the highest recognition rates in the past six months were for nationals of Yemen (89 %), Syria (88 %), Eritrea (79 %), Palestine (78 %) and stateless applicants (70 %). Conversely, only 1 % of the decisions issued to citizens of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Moldova were positive. Other countries of origin of applicants with low recognition rates included Georgia, Ghana (3 % each), The Gambia, India, and Senegal (4 % each), among others.
Stock of pending cases at the end of October 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 November, 429 592 cases were awaiting a first-instance decision. After a continued decrease in the stock until June 2018, open cases at first instance had been rising again each month since July. However, in November this trend was reversed with the backlog declining by some 11 600 cases.7 On top of the cases pending in first instance, many cases are also pending at second and higher instance. For example, Eurostat data available until September 2018 suggest that the overall number of applications awaiting decisions at all instances in EU+ countries8 has been at least double the number of cases pending at first instance. Results of analyses by EASO suggest that the pressure on national systems to process asylum applications has partially been transferred from the asylum authorities to judicial bodies.9
At the end of November, Syrian, Afghan and Venezuelan citizens continued to have the highest stocks of cases pending at first instance, together accounting for a quarter of all pending cases in the EU+. Compared to October, the stock increased considerably for applicants from Colombia, Honduras and Palestine (+ 7 % each), and to a lesser extent for nationals of Iran (+ 5 %) and El Salvador (+ 4 %).10 The most significant decreases took place for citizens of The Gambia, Mali (- 13 % each), Côte d'Ivoire (- 12 %), Ghana and Senegal (- 11 % each). At the end of November 2018, just over half of all cases awaiting a decision at first instance continued to be pending for more 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: 7 January 2019
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.
 The EU+ is composed of 28 EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland. Data on applications for international protection were available for 29 EU+ countries. Monthly data from one EU+ country was missing in both October and November.
 To avoid sensitivity to low numbers, only countries of origin with at least 100 applications overall are considered.
 Not all EU+ countries report on the number of UAMs, so the total is likely to be higher.
 Only countries of origin with at least 100 applications overall are considered.
 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 29 EU+ countries.
 To avoid sensitivity to low numbers, only countries of origin with at least 500 decisions are considered.
 Data on pending cases were available for 29 EU+ countries; in October, data were available for 29 EU+ countries.
 Eurostat, persons subject of asylum applications pending at the end of the month by citizenship, age and sex, monthly data, last update 2 January 2019.
 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).
 To avoid sensitivity to low numbers, only countries of origin with at least 3 500 pending cases at first instance are considered.