During the first quarter of 2017, 165 000 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), down by 20% compared with the fourth quarter of 2016 (when 207 000 first time applicants were registered).
Syrians, Afghans, Nigerians and Iraqis were the most numerous
With over 22 500 first time applicants between January and March 2017, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU Member States, ahead of Afghans (12 500 first time applicants), Nigerians (11 500) and Iraqis (10 500). They represent the four main citizenships of first time asylum applicants in the EU Member States over the first quarter 2017, accounting for more than a third of all first time applicants.
Over half applied for asylum either in Germany or in Italy
During the first quarter of 2017, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with almost 49 100 first time applicants, or 30% of total first time applicants in the EU Member States) and Italy (36 900, or 22%), followed by France (22 000, or 13%) and Greece (16 500, or 10%). Among Member States with more than 2 000 first time asylum seekers in the first quarter 2017, numbers of first time applicants decreased most compared with the previous quarter in Germany (-36%), the Netherlands (-34%), Greece (-18%) and Sweden (-15%). In contrast, the largest increases were recorded in Spain (+30%) and France (+9%).
Highest number of first time applicants relative to the population in Greece
Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rate of registered first time applicants during the first quarter 2017 was recorded in Greece (1 534 first time applicants per million inhabitants), followed by Cyprus (1 308), Luxembourg (1 175) and Malta (884). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (11 applicants per million inhabitants), Portugal (24), Poland (25), the Czech Republic (28), Romania (32), Lithuania (34) and Croatia (35). In the first quarter 2017, there were in total 322 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.
Nearly a million asylum applications still pending
Pending applications for international protection are those that have been made at any time and are still under consideration by the responsible national authorities at the end of the reference period. In other words, they refer to the “stock” of applications for which decisions are still pending. This statistic is meant to measure the workload of the national authorities.
At the end of March 2017, nearly a million applications for asylum protection in the EU Member States were under consideration by the responsible national authorities, almost stable compared with March 2016. With nearly 504 000 pending applications at the end of March 2017 (or half the EU total), Germany had the largest share in the EU, ahead of Italy (116 400) and Sweden (75 600).
This news item marks World Refugee Day (20 June) and is complemented with a Statistics Explained article on asylum quarterly data.
For more information
Eurostat website section on asylum and managed migration
Eurostat database on asylum and managed migration
Eurostat metadata on asylum applications statistics
Eurostat news release 46/2017 of 16 March 2017 on asylum applicants in 2016