Latest Asylum Trends

Latest asylum trends – July 2018

Reference month:   Citizenship:   

 
 
 
 
 

Source: EASO EPS, July 2016 – July 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 July, just below 56 000 applications for international protection were lodged in EU+ countries, some 4 500 more than in June1. July was the month with the most applications in the past eight months. So far in 2018, over 357 500 applications have been lodged in the EU+, 14 % fewer than during the same period of 2017 2.  

Similar to previous months, 1 out of 10 applicants had previously lodged an asylum application in the same reporting country; in July, there were 5 652 repeated applicants. Although most repeated applicants were nationals of Pakistan, Iraq and Syria, the highest concentration of repeated applicants was among citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tajikistan and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (one in every three to four applicants from these nationalities was a repeated applicant)3.  

Some 1 502 applications were lodged by self-claimed unaccompanied minors (UAMs), representing about 2.7 % of all applicants 4.  Almost two fifths of these UAMs originated from just three countries: Afghanistan (248), Eritrea (204) and Pakistan (137). The highest concentration of self-claimed UAMs continued to be among applicants from Vietnam (13 % of all Vietnamese applicants claimed to be UAMs), Eritrea (12 %) and The Gambia (11 %) 5

The main countries of origin of applicants in July were Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey and Pakistan. Citizens of each of these countries lodged more applications than in June 2018. The largest absolute increase took place for Syrian applicants (+ 988, + 15 %), whereas the largest relative increase occurred for Turkish applicants (+ 724, + 34 %). Turkish citizens continued to lodge increasing numbers of applications for the fourth month in a row, in July reaching the highest level for the past year. Also, more Afghan nationals lodged asylum applications in the EU+ than in any of the preceding 15 months. Further developments took place beyond the five most common countries of origin. For instance, compared to June, sizeable increases were recorded for applicants from Sudan (+ 512), Iran (+ 470), and Somalia (+ 251). However, only for Sudanese nationals was the increase part of a longer-term trend. 

In contrast, there were fewer applications lodged by nationals of three South American countries with a Schengen visa exemption: Venezuela (- 571), Colombia (- 439), and El Salvador (- 144). After a peak in applications in May, the number of applicants from these countries continued to decrease for a second consecutive month. In addition, considerably fewer Nigerian citizens (- 180) lodged applications in the EU+ compared to June. 

 

Focus on the most relevant countries of origin of applicants


Syria –   In July 2018, Syrian citizens lodged 7 429 applications for international protection in the EU+, 15 % more than in June. This increase occurred after three months of relatively stable numbers. Syria also remained the top country of origin, accounting for 13 % of all applications in the EU+. Half of all Syrians applied for asylum in a single Member State. The stock of Syrian cases pending at first instance in the EU+ has persistently been increasing in a steady trend since February 2018. At the end of July, some 46 849 Syrian applications were awaiting a first-instance decision. One reason for the growing number of pending cases has been the slight decline in the number of asylum decisions issued over the past months. Even through there were 5 808 first-instance decisions issued in July, which was an increase compared to June (+ 260), this increase was too low to compensate for the increase in applications. The first-instance recognition rate for Syrian applicants over the past six months was 85 % (of 36 392 issued decisions). Slightly more than half of the positive decisions granted refugee status. This recognition rate was nine percentage points lower than in the same period in 2017 (of 88 158 decisions).

Afghanistan – Afghans lodged 4 358 applications for asylum in July, following increased applications in over a third of EU+ countries. Nevertheless, three quarters of the Afghan applications continued to be lodged in just three countries. In line with the increase in applications, the number of pending cases at first instance rose slightly (+ 328), reaching 30 805 and interrupting a long-term declining trend. At the same time, almost a thousand fewer decisions were issued at first instance compared to June. In the past six months, the first-instance recognition rate for Afghan cases was 41 % (of 31 862 issued decisions), decreasing by 10 percentage points compared to the same period in 2017 (100 352 decisions). Among the positive decisions, the majority granted subsidiary protection rather than refugee status. 

Iraq –  In July, Iraqi citizens lodged 3 586 applications in the EU+, some 400 more than in June. The number of repeated applicants in the same reporting countries was 471, the highest in the past six months, but still accounting for 13 % of all Iraqi applicants. The number of pending cases at first instance for this nationality remained rather stable at around 26 000. The declining trend of decisions issued at first instance to Iraqi applicants continued to persist. The first-instance recognition rate for Iraqis in the past six months was 36 % (of 20 910 issued decisions), registering a marked decrease (by 18 percentage points) compared to the same period in 2017 (61 068 decisions). 

Turkey – Turkish citizens continued to lodge increasing numbers of applications in the EU+, reaching a peak in July. The 2 881 applications lodged represented the highest number since EASO data exchange began in 2014. The rate of repeated applicants in the same reporting countries was very low (3 %). The rising number of Turkish applicants in the past four months contributed to an increase in the number of cases pending at first instance (13 318 at the end of July). This was not compensated by increased decision-making as the number of decisions at first instance was just 1 034, decreasing by about a hundred compared to June. The recognition rate for Turkish applicants in the past six months was 42 % (of 6 970 issued decisions), 16 percentage points higher than in the same period in 2017 (7 717 decisions). 

Pakistan – In July, some 2 613 Pakistani nationals lodged applications in the EU+, increasing for the third consecutive month and reaching the highest level in 2018 so far. Recently, the proportion of Pakistani repeated applicants in the same reporting countries has been increasing. In both June and July, more than a fifth of all Pakistani applications were lodged by persons who did not apply for the first time in the same country. The number of Pakistani applicants awaiting a decision at first instance has remained relatively stable at around 21 300 cases, with the majority pending for more than half a year. In the past six months, 13 014 decisions were issued to Pakistani nationals at first instance. The recognition rate was 8 %, very similar to the same period in 2017 (when 21 891 decisions were taken). 


Number and outcome of first instance decisions 

EU+ countries issued 42 627 decisions at first instance in July, almost 4 300 fewer than in June and decreasing for the fourth month in a row 6.  Most of the decisions continued to be issued to applicants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan. In fact, two fifths of all first-instance decisions pertained to citizens from these five countries of origin. Of these citizenships, all but Syrians were issued fewer decisions in July compared to June. The largest absolute drop in decisions among all nationalities occurred for Afghan applicants (- 963), followed by Nigerians (- 340), Eritreans (- 317), Iraqis (- 284), and Bangladeshis (- 264). In contrast, besides Syrians (+ 260), more decisions were taken on cases of applicants from Sudan (+ 115) and Venezuela (+ 52), among others. 

The overall EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued between February and July was 32 %, down from 41 % in the same period of 2017. Close to two thirds of the positive decisions granted refugee status (63 %) and the rest – subsidiary protection (37 %). Among citizenships with the most decisions 7,  the highest recognition rates in the past six months were for nationals of Syria (85 %), Eritrea (82 %), Yemen (82 %), and Palestine (73 %). Conversely, citizens of Moldova (0 %), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (1 %), Georgia, and Ghana (2 % each) were subject to the lowest recognition rates. 
 

Stock of pending cases at the end of July 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 July, there were 431 171 applications awaiting a decision in first instance, approximately 9 613 more than at the end of June 8.   In addition to this increase, many cases are also pending at second and higher instance. For example, Eurostat data relating to the first few months of 2018 suggest that the overall number of cases pending at all instances in EU+ countries 9  has been at least double the number of cases pending at first instance, as currently reported by EASO. 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 bodies10

Syrian, Afghan and Nigerian citizens had the most pending cases in July, together accounting for a quarter of all pending cases in the EU+. Compared to June, the most considerable increases in the stock of pending cases occurred for applicants from Venezuela (+ 2 408), Syria (+ 1 925) and Turkey (+ 1 881). In contrast, the number of Nigerian applicants awaiting a first-instance decision shrunk by 1 554. Other sizable decreases in the stock of pending cases took place for applicants from The Gambia (- 449), Bangladesh (- 428), Senegal (- 386), and Côte d'Ivoire (- 369).  

At the end of July 2018, just over half of all cases awaiting a decision at 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: 3 September 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.




Notes
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[1] The EU+ is composed of 28 EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland. Data on applications for international protection were available for 28 EU+ countries. Monthly data from two EU+ countries were missing in both June and July.   
[2] The discrepancy is likely to be narrower, due to differences in data missing for the two reference periods.  
[3] To avoid sensitivity to low numbers, only countries of origin with at least 100 applications overall are considered.
[4] Not all EU+ countries report on the number of UAMs, so the total is likely higher. 
[5] Only countries of origin with at least 100 applications overall are considered.
[6] 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 28 EU+ countries. 
[7] To avoid sensitivity to low numbers, only countries of origin with at least 500 decisions are considered.
[8] Data on pending cases were available for 28 EU+ countries.
[9] Eurostat, Persons subject of asylum applications pending at the end of the month by citizenship, age and sex Monthly data, last update29 August 2018.
[10] 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).