1.2 million first time asylum seekers registered in 2016

1.2 million first time asylum seekers registered in 2016

1.2 million first time asylum seekers registered in 2016

The FINANCIAL -- In 2016, 1 204 300 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), a number slightly down compared with 2015 (when 1 257 000 first time applicants were registered) but almost double that of 2014 (562 700).

Syrians (334 800 first time applicants), Afghans (183 000) and Iraqis (127 000) remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU Member States in 2016, accounting for slightly more than half of all first time applicants.

6 in 10 applied for asylum in Germany

With 722 300 first time applicants registered in 2016, Germany recorded 60% of all first time applicants in the EU Member States. It was followed by Italy (121 200, or 10%), France (76 000, or 6%), Greece (49 900, or 4%), Austria (39 900, or 3%) and the United Kingdom (38 300, or 3%). Among Member States with more than 5 000 first time asylum seekers in 2016, numbers of first time applicants rose most compared with the previous year in Greece (38 500 more first time asylum seekers in 2016 than in 2015, or +339%), Germany (280 500 more, or +63%) and Italy (37 900 more, or +46%). In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in the Nordic Member States – Sweden (-86%), Finland (-84%) and Denmark (-71%) – as well as in Hungary (-84%), Belgium (-63%), the Netherlands (-55%) and Austria (-53%).

Highest number of first time applicants relative to the population in Germany, lowest in Slovakia

Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest number of registered first time applicants in 2016 was recorded in Germany (8 789 first time applicants per million inhabitants), ahead of Greece (4 625), Austria (4 587), Malta (3 989), Luxembourg (3 582) and Cyprus (3 350). In contrast, the lowest numbers were observed in Slovakia (18 applicants per million inhabitants), Portugal (69), Romania (94), the Czech Republic and Estonia (both 114). In 2016, there were in total 2 360 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.

Around 30% of first time asylum seekers were Syrians

Syria (28% of the total number of first time applicants) was again in 2016 the main country of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU Member States. Of the 334 800 Syrians who applied for the first time for asylum in the EU in 2016, almost 80% were registered in Germany (266 250). In total, Syrians represented the main citizenship of asylum seekers in thirteen EU Member States.

Afghanistan (15% of the total number of first time applicants) remained the second main country of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU Member States in 2016. Of the 183 000 Afghans seeking asylum protection for the first time in the EU Member States in 2016, nearly 70% applied in Germany (127 000). Afghans represented the main citizenship of asylum seekers in five EU Member States.

With 127 000 first time applicants (or 11% of the EU total) in 2016, Iraq was the third country of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU Member States. Three-quarters applied in Germany (96 100).

A million asylum applications pending at the end of 2016

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 2016, 1 094 100 applications for international protection in the EU Member States were still under consideration by the responsible national authorities. At the end of 2015, there were about as many (1 002 400). With 601 900 pending applications at the end of 2016 (or 55% of the EU total), Germany had the largest share in the EU, ahead of Italy (99 900, or 9%), Sweden (83 000, or 8%) and Austria (77 400, or 7%).