Statistics Explained

Asylum applications - monthly statistics


Data extracted in May 2022

Planned article update: 25 July 2022

Highlights


In March 2022, 73 850 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the EU, up 35% compared with February 2022.

In March 2022, Ukrainians were the largest group of persons seeking asylum in the EU, followed by Afghans, Syrians and Venezuelans.


This article describes recent developments in relation to the number of asylum applicants 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.

The legal basis for the asylum data collection is the Council Regulation (EC) No 862/2007. The amendment to this regulation adopted in June 2020 introduced additional new statistics. It increased the frequency, timeliness and the level of detail of the statistics from reference year 2021, including more frequent and detailed information on unaccompanied minors who represent a particularly vulnerable group seeking protection. In addition, Eurostat started to collect data on subsequent asylum applicants, on asylum applications under accelerated procedure, on applicants benefiting from material reception conditions and on types of withdrawals of asylum applications. The datasets with the new statistics are continuously published in the Eurostat database and some of these new data are included in this article.



Full article

Main trends in the number of asylum applicants

The number of first-time asylum applicants [1] in the EU accounts for a large majority of the total number of asylum applicants (Figure 1). In March 2022, there were 73 850 first-time asylum seekers applying for international protection in the EU Member States. A majority of the first-time asylum applicants were men between 18 and 34 years old, who accounted for 34 % of the total number of first-time applicants (Figure 2). Among minors, most children were less than 14 years old, the proportion of boys and girls was similar.

Figure 1: Extra-EU asylum applicants and proportion of first time applicants in the EU, March 2019 - March 2022
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)



Figure 2: First-time asylum applicants to the EU by age and sex in March 2022
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)


In total in the EU as a whole, there were 165 first-time asylum applicants per million population in March 2022 (Figure 3).

Compared with the population of each Member State (on 1st January 2021), the highest rate of registered first-time applicants in March 2022 was recorded in Cyprus, followed by Austria and Denmark. By contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia and Hungary.

Figure 3: Number of first-time asylum applicants per million population, March 2022
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm) and (demo_gind)


Where do asylum applicants come from?

In March 2022, Ukrainians were the largest group of persons seeking asylum. They were followed by Afghans, Syrians, Venezuelans and Colombians (Figure 4). Compared to February 2022, the number of first-time asylum applicants increased the most for Ukrainians (from 2 370 in February to 12 875 in March; +443%).

Figure 4: Share of citizenship in first-time asylum applicants in the EU, March 2021 - March 2022 (%)
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)

Where did asylum applicants make their application?

In March 2022, the six EU Member States which received the highest number of first-time asylum applicants were Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Austria and Romania, altogether accounting for over two-thirds (68 %) of all first-time applicants in the EU (Map 1). Data for every reporting country over time can be consulted using the dynamic chart at the beginning of the article or by accessing a dynamic version of the map below (Map 1). The number of first-time asylum applicants increased in the majority of countries in March 2022 compared with March 2021. Estonia, Finland, Denmark and Latvia recorded the largest relative increase in first-time asylum seekers, whereas a relative decrease was only observed in Hungary and Malta (Figure 5).

Map 1: First-time asylum applicants in the EU Member States in March 2022
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)


Figure 5: Relative change in first-time asylum applicants in reporting countries, March 2021 - March 2022 (%)
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyappctzm)


Applications by unaccompanied minors

Where do unaccompanied minors come from?

An unaccompanied minor is a person who is less than 18 years old who arrives on the territory of an EU Member State not accompanied by an adult responsible for the minor or a minor who is left unaccompanied after having entered the territory of a Member State. In March 2022, most unaccompanied minors came from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Pakistan (Figure 6).


Figure 6: Top ten citizenships of unaccompanied minors applying for asylum for the first time in the EU, March 2022 (%)
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyumactm)


Where do unaccompanied minors go to make their application?

Over the last twelve months, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria and Belgium received the highest number of applications compared to other Member States (Figure 7). In March 2022, 590 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in Austria, 435 in Germany, 275 in Bulgaria and 265 in Belgium.

Figure 7: Unaccompanied minor who applied for asylum in Member States over the last twelve months
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyumactm)

Applications under the accelerated procedure

In 2021, Eurostat started to collect new data on asylum applications under an accelerated procedure [2]. Article 31(8) of the Directive 2013/32/EU identifies ten grounds where the accelerated procedure may be applied, and thus where a Member State may reject a claim as manifestly unfounded. This concerns, for instance, cases where the applicant has only raised issues not relevant to refugee or subsidiary protection status, or if the applicant comes from a “safe country of origin” or where the applicant refuses to be fingerprinted. Figure 8 presents the number of applicants who had their applications processed under the accelerated procedure. The highest numbers of such applications were registered in France, Austria and Italy over the last twelve months.

Figure 8: Applications processed under the accelerated procedure over the last twelve months
Source: Eurostat (migr_asyaccm)

Pending applications

Pending applications for international protection are those that have been made at any time and are still under consideration by the relevant national authorities at the end of the reference period. In other words, they refer to the number of applications for which decisions are still pending. Figure 9 shows the number of applications for asylum protection in the EU Member States under consideration by the national authorities (so called ‘pending application’) over the last twelve months. Map 2 shows the number of pending applications in reporting countries for March 2022. Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Belgium had the highest number of pending applications in March 2022. Details for each reporting country is available in the interactive map of the data browser.

Figure 9: Pending asylum applications for review in the EU, March 2021 - March 2022
Source: Eurostat (migr_asypenctzm)


Map 2: Persons subject of asylum applications pending at the end of March 2022
Source: Eurostat (migr_asypenctzm)


Data sources

The data used for this publication are provided to Eurostat by the interior and justice ministries or immigration agencies of the EU Member States and EFTA countries. Data on asylum applications are collected monthly. They are based entirely on relevant administrative sources and supplied in accordance with the provisions of Article 4 of the Regulation (EC) No 862/2007 of 11th July 2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection.

Statistics on asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors presented in the article refers to the age accepted by the national authorities, however before the age assessment procedure was carried out/completed (i.e. it refers to the age as claimed by the applicant).

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the related introduction of movement restrictions and border closures, some countries have applied administrative measures such as temporary closure of asylum authorities, suspension of asylum interviews, suspension of lodging applications, which resulted in a drop in the number of asylum applications in 2020.



Context

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 which has been one of the cornerstones for the development of a common asylum system within the EU. Since 1999, the EU has been working towards creating a common European asylum regime in accordance with the Geneva Convention and other applicable international instruments. The Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) is responsible for developing EU policies on asylum. A number of directives in this area have been developed. The four main legal instruments on asylum 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.

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. 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 European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) 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.

In September 2020, the European Commission presented the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. This pact provides a comprehensive approach, bringing together policy in the areas of migration, asylum, integration and border management, recognising that the overall effectiveness depends on progress on all fronts. It creates faster, seamless migration processes and stronger governance of migration and borders policies, supported by modern IT systems and more effective agencies. It aims to reduce unsafe and irregular routes and promote sustainable and safe legal pathways for those in need of protection. It reflects the reality that most migrants come to the EU through legal channels, which should be better matched to EU labour market needs.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

On 4 March 2022, the Council unanimously adopted an implementing decision introducing temporary protection due to the mass inflow of persons fleeing Ukraine as a consequence of Russia's invasion.

The activated Temporary Protection Directive provides special procedures to deal with mass inflows of displaced persons for the first time. Temporary protection is an exceptional measure to provide immediate and temporary protection to displaced persons from non-EU countries and those unable to return to their country of origin.

It applies when there is a risk that the standard asylum system is struggling to cope with demand stemming from a mass inflow, risking a negative impact on the processing of claims.

Requirements for reporting such statistics already exist in Article 4(1)(c) and 4(3)(e) of Regulation (EC) No 862/2007. They are implemented for the first time with the transmission of data on international protection as follows:

  • data for the first quarter of 2022 – due by 31 May 2022
  • annual data for 2022 – due by 31 March 2023.

However, in order to respond to emerging data needs, in April 2022 Eurostat proposed a voluntary collection of more frequent and timely, in terms of data provisions, statistics on temporary protection starting from reference month March 2022. The following data are collected on a monthly basis with a deadline for provision set within one month since the end of reference period:

  • monthly data on grants of temporary protection,
  • monthly data on beneficiaries of valid temporary protection (stocks).

The respective monthly datasets are available in the Eurostat database here.

This data is usually compiled and transmitted to Eurostat by national ministries of the interior and/or immigration agencies.

The data on temporary protection for the first quarter of 2022 have been also released by Eurostat and are also available in Eurostat database in the following dataset.


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Asylum and new asylum applicants - monthly data (tps00189)
Persons subject of asylum applications pending at the end of the month - monthly data (tps00190)
Asylum and new asylum applicants - annual aggregated data (tps00191)
First instance decisions on applications by type of decision - annual aggregated data (tps00192)
Final decisions on applications - annual data (tps00193)
Asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors - annual data (tps00194)
Resettled persons - annual data (tps00195)
Temporary protection (migr_asytp)
First instance decisions granting temporary protection by citizenship, age and sex – monthly data (rounded) (migr_asytpfm)
Beneficiaries of temporary protection at the end of the month by citizenship, age and sex – monthly data (rounded) (migr_asytpsm)
Temporary protection of unaccompanied minors (migr_asyumtp)
First instance decisions granting temporary protection to unaccompanied minors by citizenship, age and sex – monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyumtpfm)
Unaccompanied minors benefiting from temporary protection at the end of the month by citizenship, age and sex – monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyumtpsm)
Applications (migr_asyapp)
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 having had their applications processed under the accelerated procedure, by age, sex and citizenship - monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyaccm)
Unaccompanied minor asylum applicants by type of applicant, citizenship, age and sex - monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyumactm)
Asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors by citizenship, age and sex Annual data (rounded) (migr_asyunaa)
Unaccompanied minors subject of asylum applications pending at the end of the month by citizenship, age and sex - monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyumpctm)
Unaccompanied minors subject of asylum applications pending at the end of the month by citizenship, age and sex - monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyumpctm)
Unaccompanied minor asylum applicants having had their applications processed under the accelerated procedure, by age, sex and citizenship - monthly data (rounded) (migr_asyumaccm)
Decisions on applications and resettlement (migr_asydec)
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)
First instance decisions on applications of unaccompanied minors by citizenship, age and sex - quarterly data (rounded) (migr_asyumdcfq)
Decisions withdrawing status granted at first instance decision to an unaccompanied minor by type of status withdrawn, citizenship and reason - quarterly data (rounded) (migr_asyumwifq)


Notes

  1. A first-time applicant for international protection is a person who lodged an application for asylum for the first time in a given Member State. The indicator 'First-time asylum applicants' excludes repeated 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 possible as all Member States have been able to provide it to Eurostat since 2014.
  2. 'An asylum applicant having had their application processed under the accelerated procedure' means a person having submitted an application for international protection or having been included in such an application as a family member during the reference period and having had their applications processed under the accelerated procedure provided for in Article 31(8) of Directive 2013/32/EU (see Art.4.1(e) of the Regulation), if such a procedure is foreseen in the national legislation of the reporting country. It refers to the number of applicants the country has processed - at first instance - under an accelerated procedure during the reference month, regardless of the date of application and of the outcome of the procedure (rejection of the application or grant of a protection status).