Latest Asylum Trends

 

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: 5 April 2018
 

Latest asylum trends – February 2018

 

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, December 2015 – February 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.


 

Asylum applications in the EU+ in February 2018

In February, some 45 908 applications for international protection were lodged in EU+ countries[1].  This represents a 14 % decrease compared to January, and a larger 22 % drop compared to a year ago in February 2017. In fact, the number of applications registered in February 2018 was the lowest in the last twelve months, a decrease clearly reflected at the citizenship level: with the exception of Venezuelans, the 10 most common citizenships seeking international protection all lodged fewer applications than in January.  

At the same time, some 11 % of applicants had already lodged an application previously in the same EU+ country, a proportion larger than in January: the overall number of repeated applications was 4 961 in February. This implies that a sizeable share of asylum applicants had already been present in the same EU+ country for some time, a phenomenon observed across most citizenships of origin. Furthermore, and stable with the previous two months, at least 3 % of all applications concerned claimed unaccompanied minors (UAM). Self-claimed UAM applicants were predominantly nationals of Afghanistan (17 % of all UAM applications), who increased in February (278) compared to January (196). Larger shares of UAMs were also observed among citizens of Eritrea (9 % of all UAM applicants) and The Gambia (8 %).  

The top five countries of origin of applicants remained the same as in January: Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan. These citizenships jointly accounted for a third of all applications for international protection lodged in the EU+ in February 2018. Georgia, Albania, Iran, Bangladesh and Venezuela completed the list of the 10 most common citizenships of origin. In February 2018 all these citizenships, with the notable exception of Venezuela (see box), lodged fewer applications for international protection compared to a month earlier. The largest relative decreases concerned applicants from Nigeria (- 23 %) and Iran (- 19 %); nevertheless, the largest absolute decline concerned Syrian nationals, who lodged 763 fewer applications. 

 

Focus on the most relevant countries of origin of applicants


Syria – In February 2018, Syrians remained the largest group of applicants in the EU+, lodging 5 169 applications, some 763 fewer than in the previous month. The number of Syrian nationals applying for international protection has been constantly decreasing since August 2017: the level observed in February was the lowest for the last three years (February 2014). Syrian applicants remained the group of applicants most widespread across the EU+, with 14 of 26 reporting countries counting Syrian nationals among their top-three citizenships of origin.

Iraq –  There were 3 187 Iraqi applicants across EU+ countries, about 600 fewer than in the previous month and the lowest monthly level since February 2015. More than one in 10 applicants from Iraq had previously lodged an application in the same EU+ country, i.e. were repeated applicants. Of the 26 reporting countries, 9 reported Iraq among the three most common countries of origin.  

Afghanistan – There were 2 884 applicants from Afghanistan in February, at the lowest since June 2014. The increase in the share of repeated applicants was particularly evident for this citizenship, as they accounted for 16 % in February, up from 12 % in January. Moreover, the number of Unaccompanied Minors among Afghan applicants increased to 278: in February, 1 in 10 applicants from Afghanistan claimed to be a UAM.
    
Nigeria – Nigerian nationals lodged 2 115 applications for international protection in February, some 600 fewer than in January. As was the case for other citizenships, there was an increase in the share of repeated applicants in February (11 %) compared to January (8 %). Almost all applications lodged by nationals of Nigeria were lodged in just five EU+ countries.   

Pakistan – Pakistani applicants lodged 2 035 applications for international protection in the EU+ in February, some 300 fewer than the previous month. Thus, the decrease was more moderate compared to the remaining most common citizenships of applicants. Also among Pakistanis, the share of repeated applicants increased in February (13 %), compared to January (10 %).

Venezuela In February, Venezuela became the 10th most common country of origin of applicants for asylum in Europe, with 1 359 applications for international protection. This was the second highest monthly level ever recorded for this citizenship. More specifically, Venezuela was the only country of origin whose citizens lodged more applications in February than in January (1 295). Such increase in asylum-related migration from Venezuela continues the upward trend observed throughout 2017, and particularly over the second half of the year. This resulted in a constant increase in the number of applicants still awaiting a decision in the first-instance, which reached nearly 15 000 in February. Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of applicants from Venezuela lodged an application for international protection in just one EU+ country. In contract to other important countries of origin, nearly all Venezuelan nationals were first-time applicants, perhaps indicating their newly arrived status.


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

EU+ countries issued 51 107 decisions at first instance, a large 14 % decrease compared to January, but still exceeding the number of applications lodged [2]. Most decisions were issued to applicants from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria and Pakistan. All these nationalities were issued fewer decisions than in January, with the sharpest decreases concerning Afghanistan (- 19 %) and Syria (- 14 %). 

The overall EU+ recognition rate was 32 %, similar to the previous month. More or less two-thirds of all positive decisions granted refugee status and one third granted subsidiary protection. While the majority of citizenships among the top 10 with most decisions issued had rather stable recognition rates, Iraqi (32 %, four percentage points lower), Iranian (39 %, 5 percentage points lower) and Eritrean (84 %, 4 percentage points lower) were the noticeable decreases compared to January. 



Stock of pending cases at the end of February 2018

At the end of February, there were 437 118 applications awaiting a decision in first instance, some 11 500 fewer than those pending at the end of January[3].   

For the first time since June 2016, Afghan applicants were not the group with most pending cases in February (38 606), being replaced by Syrians (38 967). Remarkably, Syria and Venezuela were the only countries of origin – among the 10 accounting for most pending cases - for which the stock increased compared to January, although for both groups by less than 1 000 applications. 

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



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 26 EU+ countries.  Monthly data from four EU+ countries were missing and these are estimated to represent approximately 800 applications. 
[2] 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 26 EU+ countries.  
[3] Data on pending cases were available for 24 EU+ countries.