October marks highest number of asylum applications lodged in 2018

  • 11th December 2018

Iran and Turkey among top five countries of origin of applicants.

With more than 60 500 applications for international protection lodged throughout the EU+, October was the month with the most claims so far this year. Despite this peak, applications lodged since the start of the year have remained lower than in 2017.

October’s increase was reflected in all the main citizenships of origin of applicants, varying between +9 % and +43 %. Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were the top three countries of origin of applicants in October, as was the case, with few interruptions, for the past three years. Applications by these three main citizenships all increased in October compared to September, by 12 %, 20 % and 13 % respectively.

Iran and Turkey have both been amongst the top five countries of origin over the past few months. In October, Iran was the fourth largest country of origin of applications for international protection in the EU+ (up from 10th in October 2017), followed by Turkey (up from 7th in October 2017).

The number of Iranian applications lodged in October (3 170) has not been so high since the height of the migration crisis, when higher numbers were recorded between September 2015 and September 2016. Despite recent increases in first-instance decisions issued to Iranians, the stock of open cases awaiting such a decision further increased to 14 503, the highest number recorded since November 2017. Over the past six-month period, more than one in three Iranian applicants received international protection.  

October 2018 also marked the highest number of applications (2 880) lodged by Turkish citizens on record, with an increase of 9 % over the previous month. Based on available data, the majority of Turkish applicants is likely to have recently arrived in the EU+. The increase in applications, not paralleled by an increase in decisions, has led to higher numbers of those awaiting a first-instance decision, with around 17 300 Turkish first instance cases open at the end of October. This number of pending applications of Turkish nationals is the highest on record. Over the past six-months, Turkish applicants received a positive decision in 44 % of the cases, with most positive decisions granting refugee status.

Of the ten main citizenships of origin in October, the most significant month-to-month increases were recorded for Georgian (+ 43 %), Venezuelan (+ 32 %) and Albanian (+ 31 %) nationals. These three citizenships all benefit from visa-free access to the Schengen area.

More detailed information and an interactive dashboard is available on EASO’s Latest Asylum Trends webpage.


Any further information may be obtained from the European Asylum Support Office on the following email address: press@easo.europa.eu