European Union sees considerable drop in asylum seekers

The number of asylum applications lodged in the European Union’s 28 member states declined by 10 percent in 2018. And the prior calendar year already showed a year-over-year drop of 44 percent. In 2018, the EU saw a total of 634 700 asylum applications, of which the largest country of origin was Syria (representing over 10% of all applications submitted). Within the context of first-instance decisions, 87% of Syrian asylum seekers were afforded international protection within the EU. The number of applications from nationals of Iran, Turkey and Pakistan were also significant (approximately 4% of all applications each), while the number fleeing Venezuela for a new life in Europe increased markedly to 22,000 applications, representing a twofold rise compared to 2017. Significant increases in the number of asylum seekers were registered among Palestinians (+61%), Georgians (+72%) and Colombians (+210%). In contrast, Europe is seeing a marked decline in the number of asylum seekers from African states, such as Gambia (-62%), Senegal (-46%) and Nigeria (-46%).

These statistics suggest that the number of asylum applications to the EU are now in line with figures prior to the migration crisis that erupted in 2015. In fact, the number of applications received in 2018 is slightly lower than the last pre-crisis figure from 2014.

A sign marking the local Hungarian Office of Immigration and Nationality in southern Hungary’s Tompa transit station.

Readers of HFP may be most interested in the number of refugees accepted by Hungary in 2018. Earlier in February, following an access to information request by the Népszava daily, we learned that Hungarian authorities accepted a total of 367 refugees in 2018. This represents a significant decrease from 2017, when Hungary accepted 1,300 asylum seekers. The majority of refugees who sought and received asylum in Hungary were nationals of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

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