Latest Asylum Trends

Latest asylum trends – July 2019

The visualisation below provides an overview of the key indicators regarding the situation of international protection in the EU+ in the past 24 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 year. By clicking on a circle, the evolution of these key indicators for the citizenship selected is displayed in the lower panel.

Reference month:   Citizenship:   

 
 
 
 
 

Source: EASO EPS, July 2017 – July 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.

 

Asylum applications at the highest monthly level since 2017

Some 62 900 applications for international protection were lodged in the EU+1 in July, up by 26 % from June, and the highest monthly total since March 2017. While the increase can be partially attributed to the very low number of applications registered a month earlier, it also represented the most precipitous month-on-month increase since January 2019. About 400 500 applications were lodged so far in 2019, 11 % more than in the same period of 2018. 

Syrians, Afghans and Venezuelans lodged the most applications and in increasing numbers, particularly Syrians and Afghans (each + 34 %). Jointly, these three citizenships lodged a quarter of all applications in the EU+ (see more in the box below).

Citizens of Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Colombia, Iran, Nigeria and Albania completed the list of the top 10 citizenships. All the top 40 citizenships of origin – with the exception of Congolese, Nicaraguans and Salvadorians – lodged more applications than in June, mirroring record numbers registered in many EU+ countries. For example citizens of Turkey lodged more applications (+ 56 %), as did citizens of Pakistan (+ 41 %), Iraq (+ 33 %), Venezuela (+ 18 %) and Iran (+ 31 %). Several nationalities, moreover, lodged more applications since the beginning of 2019. In addition to Syrians and Afghans, these included applicants from Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Somalia, China, Peru, India, Sudan, Eritrea and Haiti. Many of these citizenships were associated with rising numbers of detections of illegal border-crossing at the EU+ borders. In fact, compared to June, asylum applications grew more sharply among nationals of countries in need of a visa to enter the EU+, than among nationals of visa-liberalised countries (VLCs).    

This does not imply that asylum trends for nationals of VLCs weakened. As a whole, visa-exempt third country nationals lodged some 15 450 asylum applications, continuing to account for 25 % of the total. The most prominent citizenships of the group all sought asylum more frequently than in June. The increase was particularly noteworthy among Venezuelans, Colombians, Georgians and Moldovans. Applications from the latter rose precipitously (+ 81 %,) after the low numbers registered in June. Overall, two thirds of all VLC applications were lodged by nationals of just four countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Albania and Georgia.

The number of UAM applications also increased, remaining 3 % of the total but increasing to the highest number so far in 20192 and up by 25 % compared to June mainly due to more UAMs among Afghan applicants, who account for a tenth of all UAM applications. Even larger was the concentration of UAMs among nationals of Vietnam (at least 10 % were UAMs); somewhat fewer UAMs lodged applications among Sudanese and Eritrean nationals (7 % each).3

Finally, repeated applicants – who previously lodged an application in the same EU+ country – accounted for 9 % of all applications lodged in the EU. The share of repeated applicants was particularly high among nationals of North Macedonia, The Gambia (one in three applicants each), Serbia, Kosovo and Russia (one in four), Azerbaijan and Nigeria (one in five).

 

 

Focus on the main countries of origin of applicants

Syria - Syrian nationals lodged some 6 543 asylum applications in July, the most so far in 2019, and considerably more than in June (+ 34 %). The cumulative trend for the period January-July (about 38 800 applications) nevertheless revealed that Syrians lodged fewer applications than in the same period of 2018 (about 44 000 applications). Notwithstanding the decrease, one in 10 applications in the EU+ was still lodged by a Syrian national. So far in 2019 most Syrian applications were lodged in just five EU+ countries, a year previously applications were more widely distributed across the EU+.

Syrian applicants received about 7 600 first-instance decisions in July, the highest output so far in 2019. In the six month-period between February and July, Syrian applicants received about 39 000 first-instance decisions in the EU+, more than four-fifths of which issued by just five EU+ countries. Consequently, Syrians have lodged fewer applications than have been processed, so the number of open cases fell by 500 to 43 800.

The EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued in the past six months (February-July) was 86 %, somewhat lower than in the previous semester (89 %).

Afghanistan - In July, Afghan nationals lodged 5 040 applications for international protection, the most so far in 2019 and up by 34 % from June. This is not a short term trend, in fact since the beginning of the year, Afghan nationals lodged about 28 600 applications, up by 20 % compared to last year. In common with Syrians, the majority of Afghan applications were lodged in five EU+ countries. Afghanistan remained the country of origin with most UAMs applying for asylum in the EU+, with almost one in 10 Afghan applicants so far in 2019 being UAMs. These were quite unevenly distributed across the EU+, in that they accounted for a considerable proportion of applications by Afghans – up to almost half – in some EU+ countries.

In July, Afghan applicants received some 2 900 decisions at first instance, this is an increase compared to June but overall decision making for Afghans is much reduced: during the first six months of 2019, Afghan applicants received just 17 200 decisions, down from 23 100 in the preceding six month-period – combined with fewer case closures for other reasons and increased applications, the number of pending cases increased to 36 200 at the end of July.

The first-instance EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued in the past six months was 49 %, stable with the previous six months.

Venezuela – Asylum trends for Venezuelan nationals increased – as for most other citizenships - in July: they lodged almost 3 800 applications, up by 18 % from June. Applications in the first seven months of 2019 (25 500) already outnumbered those registered in the whole of 2018 (22 200). Venezuelan nationals continued to seek international protection in an extremely limited number of EU+ countries.

Uniquely in July, Venezuelans were issued increasing numbers of first instance decisions: almost 5 600, more than the entire six month period January-June (about 3 900), as well as in the whole of 2018 (3 350). For the first time since they began to seek asylum in the EU+ in large numbers, Venezuelans received more decisions than they lodged applications. Nevertheless, the stock of pending cases was higher than in June: at the end of July, some 45 000 Venezuelan applications were still awaiting a decision at first instance, one in 10 of all pending cases in the EU+.4 As of July, more cases were pending in first instance for Venezuelans than for Syrians. 

The first-instance EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued in the past six months to Venezuelans was 11 %, considerably lower than in the previous six months (46 %). It must be noted that this recognition rate does not include permits to stay for humanitarian reasons under national law concerning international protection (i.e. humanitarian protection), which are granted automatically to Venezuelan nationals in some EU+ countries.

 

 


Increased decision-making in Member States 

In July, almost 51 000 decisions were issued at first instance in the EU+, one of the highest outputs in the past 12 months, and up by 22 % from June.5 The increase was concentrated in about four EU+ countries, whereas numbers remained largely stable in most others. Three quarters of all decisions were issued in just four EU+ countries. 

Similar to what was observed with regard to asylum applications, most citizenships received more first-instance decisions than in June. Syrian applicants received the most decisions in July, and considerably more than in June (+ 34 %). However, the largest increase concerned Venezuelan nationals: in July, they received 5 600 first-instance decisions, far more than in six month-period January-June 2019 (3 911). Together, Syrians and Venezuelans received one in four applications issued in the EU+, whereas in the past months the same proportion included at least three citizenships of origin. Other citizenships receiving far more applications than in June were Iraqis (+ 30 %), Afghans (+ 17 %), Pakistanis, Turks, Iranians (+ 23 % each), Salvadorians (+ 114 %) and Iranians (+ 22 %). Some citizenships received the most decisions so far in 2019: these included Venezuelans, Pakistanis, Georgians, Moroccans and Chinese.

It is also informative to examine the number of first-instance decisions vis-à-vis asylum applications lodged by specific citizenships. For the first time since they began to seek asylum in the EU+ in large numbers, in July Venezuelans received more decisions (5 570) than they lodged applications (3 773); the same was true for Syrians (7 643 decisions compared to 6 543 applications). The opposite took place for Colombians, Afghans, Turks, Pakistanis, Iranians and Somalis – among others – who lodged far more applications than they received decisions.


EU+ recognition rates slightly rising

The EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued at first instance in July was 35 %, rising for a second consecutive month (it was 32 % in May).6 Nevertheless, if decisions issued over a longer period are considered, the recognition rate slightly decreased to 34 % (for decisions issued between February and July) down from 36 % (August 2018 – January 2019). More than two-thirds of positive decisions issued in the past six months granted refugee status, and the remainder subsidiary protection (30 %).   

Among the citizenships with at least 1 000 decisions issued in the past six months, applicants from Syria (86 %), Yemen (85 %) and Eritrea (81 %) had the highest EU-regulated recognition rate, followed at a distance by applicants from Sudan (69 %). On the other hand, applicants from Moldova (0.5 %), North Macedonia (1 %), Georgia and India (3 % each) had the lowest. With regard to recognition rate variation, a large drop was observed for applicants from Palestine (by 23 percentage points to 53 %), Libya (59 %, - 6 p.p.), and China (36 %, - 6 p.p.). In contrast, the recognition rate increased for Sudanese (69 %, + 11 p.p.), Cameroonians (29 %, + 5 p.p.) and Ivorians (18 %, + 4 p.p.).


Considerably more cases pending at first instance than a month earlier

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 July 2019 there were some 456 300 applications awaiting a decision in first instance in the EU+, a large increase – by more than 15 000 cases from June.7 However, this was due to technical revisions in the number of cases pending for Venezuelans. More than two-thirds of the backlog at first instance were registered in just five EU+ countries. Moreover, there were also twice as many applications awaiting a decision in appeal or review at the end of April 2019, implying that a considerable part of the backlog has been transferred from asylum authorities to judicial bodies.8

In July, the increase in the number of cases pending for Venezuelans resulted in the latter outnumbering Syrians in terms of applications pending at first instance. One in every five applications pending in the EU+ pertained to one of these two nationalities; Afghans (accounting for 8 % of all cases pending) Iraqis and Pakistanis (5 % each) followed at a distance. Compared to June, notable increases were noticed in the number of cases pending for Colombian, Afghan, Turkish and Somali applicants. In contrast, decreases were noticed among Nigerians and Syrians. At the end of July, slightly more than half of all applications were pending for longer than six months (54 %).

 

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). In line with the dissemination guide on EPS data, EASO cannot publish data disaggregated per EU+ country.

Date of release: 13 September 2019



Notes
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[1] The EU+ is composed of 28 EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland. Monthly data for July were available for all 30 EU+ countries.
[2] Claimed UAM represent the asylum applicants claiming to be below the age of 18 years rather than those assessed to be such after an age assessment has been carried out. Some EU+ countries have difficulties reporting on claimed UAM in the framework of the EPS data exchange. These figures should therefore be considered as underestimations of the actual proportion of claimed UAM.
[3] Among the citizenships lodging at least 300 applications in total in June.
[4] The increase was due to technical revisions.
[5] 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 30 EU+ countries.  
[6] 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.
[7] The increase was due to technical revisions.
[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).