Asylum quarterly report

Data extracted on 15 June 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update of the article: September 2016.

First time asylum applicants and first instance decisions on asylum applications: first quarter 2016

This article describes recent developments in relation to numbers of asylum applicants and first instance decisions on asylum applications in the European Union (EU). Asylum is a form of international protection given by a state on its territory. It is granted to a person who is unable to seek protection in his/her country of citizenship and/or residence, in particular for fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

Figure 1: First time asylum applicants, EU-28, January 2015 – March 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)
Figure 2: First time asylum applicants by citizenship, EU-28, absolute change between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm), see country codes
Figure 3: First time asylum applicants by citizenship, EU-28, relative change between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm), see country codes
Table 1: First time asylum applicants in the EU-28 by citizenship, Q1 2015 – Q1 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)
Table 2: First time asylum applicants, Q1 2015 – Q1 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)
Figure 4: First time asylum applicants, absolute change between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm), see country codes
Figure 5: First time asylum_applicants, relative change between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm), see country codes
Table 3: Asylum applicants (including first time asylum applicants), Q1 2015 – Q1 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)
Table 4 : Five main citizenships of first time asylum applicants, 1st quarter 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)
Table 5 :Thirty main citizenships of first time asylum applicants by destination country in the EU 28, 1st quarter 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)
Figure 6 : First instance decisions in the EU-28 by outcome, selected citizenships, 1st quarter 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asydcfstq)
Figure 7 : First instance decisions by outcome, selected Member States, 1st quarter 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asydcfstq)
Table 6 : First instance decisions by outcome and recognition rates, 1st quarter 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asydcfstq)
Table 7 : First instance decisions by outcome and recognition rates, 30 main citizenships of asylum applicants granted decisions in the EU-28, 1st quarter 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asydcfstq)
Table 8 : First instance decisions by citizenship and outcome, selected Member States, 1st quarter 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asydcfstq)
Table 9 : First instance decisions by destination country and outcome in the EU-28, selected citizenships of asylum applicants, 1st quarter 2016 - Source: Eurostat (migr_asydcfstq)

Main statistical findings

Increase in asylum applicants

The number of first time asylum applicants[1][2] increased by more than 50 % in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter of 2015 but decreased by -33 % compared with the fourth quarter of 2015. Overall, the number of persons seeking asylum from non-EU countries in the EU-28 during the first quarter of 2016 reached 287 100. This was 97 500 more than in the same quarter of 2015 (Table 1, Table 2). Out of the 299 400 total asylum applicants (i.e. including repeat applicants), 287 100 (96 %) were first time applicants (Table 2, Table 3).


Where do they come from?

Citizens of 150 countries sought asylum for the first time in the EU in the first quarter of 2016. Syrians, Iraqis and Afghanis were the top 3 citizenships of asylum seekers, lodging 102 400, 35 000 and 34 800 applications respectively (Table 1).

Syrians (71 400 more applicants compared with the first quarter of 2015) added most to the overall increase in first time asylum applicants in absolute terms, followed by Iraqis (27 100 more) and Afghanis (21 500 more). In a contrast case are asylum applicants from Kosovo which have notably decreased by 46 400 less (Figure 2, Table 1).

Asylum applicants from Moldova (6 times more) recorded the most substantial relative increase in the EU in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter of 2015, followed by Iraqis and Iranians (more than 4 times more), Syrians and Lebanese (more than 3 times more), and Afghanis and Moroccans (nearly 3 times more) (Figure 3, Table 1).

Of the 102 400 Syrians who applied for the first time for asylum in the EU in the first quarter of 2016 almost 90% were registered in Germany (88 500). Similarly, 73% of Iraqis (25 600) and 57% (19 800) of Afghanis seeking asylum protection for the first time in the EU applied as well in Germany during the first quarter of 2016. Syrians were the main citizenship of asylum seekers in 7 EU Member States (Table 4, Table 5).


Main destination countries

The highest number of first time asylum applicants in the first quarter of 2016 was registered in Germany (with almost 175 000 applicants, or 61% of total applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Italy (22 300, or 8%), France (18 000, or 6%), Austria (13 900, or 5%) and the United Kingdom (10 100, or 4%). These 5 Member States together account for 83% of all first time applicants in the EU-28 (Table 2).

Trends in number of asylum applicants vary from country to country in the first quarter of 2016. Germany (with 98 000 more applicants) was the country with the largest absolute increase in the number of asylum applicants, followed by Italy and Austria (7 100 and 4 200 more applicants respectively). Large increases in the numbers of first time asylum applicants were also recorded in France (15 200 more applicants), the Netherlands (3 100 more), the United Kingdom (2 700 more), Greece (2 600 more) and Denmark (1 500 more).

In contrast, Hungary saw its number of asylum seekers falling notably by 26 000 less (or -79 %), while Sweden has recorded a drop of 3 700 less asylum applicants (or -33 %) in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter of 2015 (Figures 4 and 5).

Slovenia and Croatia, despite their small numbers of registered asylum applicants, have recorded a notable increase of 10 and and 4 times more asylum seekers respectively (400 and 100 applicants more respectively) in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter of 2015.


Decisions on asylum applications

240 400 first instance decisions[3] were made by the national authorities of EU Member States during the first quarter of 2016. Among them, 60% were positive (i.e. granting a type of protection status) (Table 6).

Germany issued by far the most total first instance decisions[4] during the first quarter of 2016 (138 900 decisions), followed by Italy (23 100), France (20 000), Sweden (14 000), the Netherlands (8 900) and the United Kingdom (8 200) (Figure 7. Table 6).

Most decisions were issued to Syrians (96 500), followed by Albanians (15 300), Iraqis (13 200) and Eritreans (12 900) (Table 7).

Syrians received by far the highest number of protection statuses in the EU Member States, including protection based on national legislations (95 200 positive first instance decisions, or 99% rate of recognition[5]), followed by Iraqis (9 700, or 73%) and Eritreans (8 900, or 94%).

Of the 15 300 first instance decisions issued to Albanians only 400 were positive (or 3% rate of recognition), while of the 8 400 issued to Serbians and of the 8 000 issued to Kosovans only 80 and 300 were positive respectively (or 1% and 3% respectively) (Figure 6, Table 7).


Data sources and availability

The data used for this publication are provided to Eurostat by the Ministries of Interior, Justice or immigration agencies of the Member States and EFTA countries. Data on asylum applications are collected monthly while data on first instance decisions are collected quarterly. Data are based entirely on relevant administrative sources.

Apart from statistics on first asylum applicants, these data are supplied in accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of the Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 of 11 July 2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection. All data presented in this publication are rounded to the nearest 5, and are provisional (except as otherwise stated) and may be a subject to change.


Context

The Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) is responsible for developing EU policies on asylum.

The 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees (as amended by the 1967 New York Protocol) has, for over 60 years, defined who is a refugee, and laid down a common approach towards refugees that has been one of the cornerstones for the development of a common asylum system within the EU.

Since 1999, the EU has worked towards creating a common European asylum regime in accordance with the Geneva Convention and other applicable international instruments. A number of directives in this area have been developed. The four main legal instruments on asylum — all recently recast — are:

  • the Qualification Directive 2011/95/EU on standards for the qualification of non-EU nationals and stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection;
  • the Asylum Procedures Directive 2013/32/EU on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection;
  • the Reception Conditions Directive 2013/33/EU laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection;
  • the Dublin Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection lodged in one of the Member States by a third-country national or stateless person.

The Hague programme was adopted by heads of state and government on 5 November 2004. It puts forward the idea of a common European asylum system (CEAS), in particular, it raises the challenge to establish common procedures and uniform status for those granted asylum or subsidiary protection. The European Commission’s policy plan on asylum (COM(2008) 360 final) was presented in June 2008 which included three pillars to underpin the development of the CEAS:

  • bringing more harmonisation to standards of protection by further aligning the EU Member States’ asylum legislation;
  • effective and well-supported practical cooperation;
  • increased solidarity and sense of responsibility among EU Member States, and between the EU and non-member countries.

With this in mind, in 2009 the European Commission made a proposal to establish a European Asylum Support Office (EASO). The EASO supports EU Member States in their efforts to implement a more consistent and fair asylum policy. It also provides technical and operational support to EU Member States facing particular pressures (in other words, those EU Member States receiving large numbers of asylum applicants). The EASO became fully operational in June 2011 and has worked to increase its capacity, activity and influence, working with the European Commission and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In May 2010, the European Commission presented an action plan for unaccompanied minors (COM(2010) 213 final), who are regarded as the most exposed and vulnerable victims of migration. This plan aims to set-up a coordinated approach and commits all EU Member States to grant high standards of reception, protection and integration for unaccompanied minors. As a complement to this action plan, the European Migration Network has produced a comprehensive EU study on reception policies, as well as return and integration arrangements for unaccompanied minors.

In December 2011, the European Commission adopted a Communication on ‘Enhanced intra-EU solidarity in the field of asylum’ (COM(2011) 835 final). This provided proposals to reinforce practical, technical and financial cooperation, moving towards a better allocation of responsibilities and improved governance of the asylum system in the EU, namely through:

  • introducing an evaluation and early warning mechanism to detect and address emerging problems;
  • making the supporting role of the EASO more effective;
  • increasing the amount of funds available and making these more flexible, taking into account significant fluctuations in the number of asylum seekers;
  • developing and encouraging the relocation of beneficiaries of international protection between different EU Member States.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

News releases


Data in focus

Main tables

Asylum and new asylum applicants - monthly data
Persons subject of asylum applications pending at the end of the month - monthly data
Asylum and new asylum applicants - annual aggregated data
First instance decisions on applications by type of decision - annual aggregated data
Final decisions on applications - annual data
Asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors - annual data
Resettled persons - annual data

Database

Applications (migr_asyapp)
Asylum applicants by citizenship till 2007 Annual data (rounded) (migr_asyctz)
First time asylum applicants by citizenship till December 2007 Monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyctzm)
Asylum and first time asylum applicants by citizenship, age and sex Annual aggregated data (rounded) (migr_asyappctza)
Asylum and first time asylum applicants by citizenship, age and sex Monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyappctzm)
Persons subject of asylum applications pending at the end of the month by citizenship, age and sex - Monthly data (rounded) (migr_asypenctzm)
Asylum applications withdrawn by citizenship, age and sex Annual aggregated data (rounded) (migr_asywitha)
Asylum applications withdrawn by citizenship, age and sex - Monthly data (rounded) (migr_asywithm)
Asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors by citizenship, age and sex Annual data (rounded) (migr_asyunaa)
Decisions on applications and resettlement (migr_asydec)
Decisions on asylum applications by citizenship till 2007 Annual data (rounded) (migr_asydctzy)
Decisions on asylum applications by citizenship till December 2007 Monthly data (rounded) (migr_asydctzm)
First instance decisions on applications by citizenship, age and sex Annual aggregated data (rounded) (migr_asydcfsta)
First instance decisions on applications by citizenship, age and sex Quarterly data (rounded) (migr_asydcftq)
Decisions withdrawing status granted at first instance decision by type of status withdrawn and by citizenship Annual aggregated data (rounded) (migr_asywitfsta)
Decisions withdrawing status granted at first instance decision by type of status withdrawn and by citizenship Quarterly data (rounded) (migr_asywitfstq)
Final decisions on applications by citizenship, age and sex Annual data (rounded) (migr_asydcfina)
Decisions withdrawing status granted as final decision by type of status withdrawn Annual data (rounded) (asywitfina)
Resettled persons by age, sex and citizenship Annual data (rounded) (migr_asyresa)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

External links

Notes

  1. First time applicant for international protection is a person who lodged an application for asylum for the first time in a given Member State.
  2. Editions of this quarterly report until the fourth quarter of 2014 referred to 'Total asylum applicants', whereas this quarterly Statistics Explained article refers to the number of 'First time asylum applicants' only. The indicator 'First time asylum applicants' excludes repeat applicants i.e. persons applying for asylum more than once in one country and therefore more accurately presents the number of persons applying for international protection in the EU Member States. The use of this indicator is now possible as all Member States are able to provide it to Eurostat.
  3. Data on first instance decisions relate to decisions on applications granted to all asylum applicants i.e. First time asylum applicants and Repeat asylum applicants.
  4. Total decisions equal to positive decisions plus negative decisions.
  5. Rate of recognition is the share of (first instance) positive decisions in the total number of decisions at first instance. In this report, the exact number of decisions has been used instead of the presented rounded numbers. Rates of recognition for humanitarian status are not shown, but are part of the 'Total recognition rate'.