Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

Asylum requests in Europe rise for the first time since 2015 refugee crisis

The rise was driven by applications from Afghan asylum seekers and by Latin Americans with visa-free access to Europe

Refugees and migrants walk at the unofficial camp of the island of Samos on February 22, 2020 AFP
Refugees and migrants walk at the unofficial camp of the island of Samos on February 22, 2020 AFP

For the first time since Europe’s dramatic refugee crisis in 2015 asylum requests to the European Union have increased.

A European Union report has shown that the 714 200 applications for international protection, up by 13 per cent compared to 2018, were driven by applications from Afghan asylum seekers and by Latin Americans with visa-free access to the Shengen zone.

Despite the considerable rise, the figure is just half of the 1.4 million applications made in 2015. That year conflicts in the Middle East and massive migration from Africa drove the wave of asylum applications and left European governments scrambling to adapt.

Unlike the 2015 surge, the 2019 rise was not “particularly driven by irregular migration” the report from the European Asylum Support Office has said.

The overall EU recognition rate remained stable at 33 per cent in 2019 with Syrians, Afghans and Venezuelans lodging a quarter of all applications.

Afghans lodged a third more applications compared to 2018, but received fewer decisions with recognition rates varying widely between issuing countries.

Several Latin American citizenships also lodged far more applications than in 2018. However, applicants from countries like Venezuela had a low recognition rate.

At a recognition rate of 85 per cent Syrians were the most likely to have their asylum requests accepted. Yemenis had a recognition rate of 82 per cent and Eritreans 81 per cent.

While the levels of migration and asylum applications to Europe have never returned to heights witnessed in 2015 and 2016, European nations continue to struggle with how to deal with immigration.

Populist right-wing parties have gained in popularity across the continent standing on a anti-immigration platform.

Updated: February 27, 2020 01:09 PM

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