Migrants being rescued in the Mediterranean by Frontex in January 2020. The number of migrant who reached Europe last year dropped by a third/Photo: Frontex

Number of asylum applications in Europe down by almost a third

The number of asylum applications in Europe fell by almost a third last year. A total of 461,300 applications, 31 per cent fewer than in 2019, were filed, according to EASO, the EU’s asylum office based in Valletta, Malta.

The main reason for the decline, according to EASO, is the Corona pandemic travel restrictions. The figures cover all initial applications for the 27 EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland.

According to the data, the main countries of origin of those seeking protection remained the same. Most applications came from Syrians (64,540), Afghans (48,578) and Venezuelans (30,643), Colombians (29,438) and Iraqis (18,167). Of the total number of applications, four per cent were from what EASO described as “unaccompanied minors according to their own information”.

Despite the pandemic, the number of asylum decisions remained at the previous year’s level. Almost every third application was recognised.

According to EASO, the recognition rate remained stable at an average of 32 per cent. Syrians with 84 per cent, Eritreans with 80 per cent and Yemenis with 75 per cent were most recognised as in need of protection, while Colombians with two per cent and Venezuelans with three per cent were least recognised.

Sola Jolaoso

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