The number of asylum applicants increased by 64 per cent in 2022, totalling up to 881,200 first-time applicants seeking international protection in the EU.
According to the European Office for Statistics, Eurostat, the number of applicants saw a decline in 2020, when 417,100 applicants were recorded, but increased by 28 per cent in the following year and another 111 per cent compared to 2022, respectively, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Furthermore, 4.3 million temporary protection statuses were granted to non-EU citizens from Ukraine, fleeing the country due to the Russian invasion throughout 2022. During the same time, 3.8 million non-EU citizens benefitted from the EU temporary protection directive.
“Almost half (46 per cent) of the first-time asylum applicants in 2022 had Asian citizenship, while 22 per cent had African citizenship, 17 per cent had European citizenship (non-EU), and 14 per cent had North or South American citizenship,” Eurostat explains.
The majority of first-time asylum applicants had Syrian citizenship, representing 15 per cent of all first-time applications and accounting for 131,970 applications, followed by Afghanistan, with 113,495 applications or 13 per cent of the total.
Applicants from Venezuela and Turkiye consisted for almost six per cent of all applications filed in 2022, with 50,050 and 49,720 applications, respectively, while Colombia was the fifth main country of citizenship with 42,420 applications, representing five per cent of the total number of applications.
Germany remains the main recipient, receiving one-quarter of all first-time applications in the EU – 25 per cent of the total, accounting for 217,735 applicants, followed by France and Spain with 137,510 and 116,135 applicants, respectively, while altogether, these two countries represented 29 per cent of all applications.
In addition, Austria received 12 per cent of applicants (106,380) and Italy about nine per cent (77,200). These five EU countries represented 75 per cent of all first-time asylum applicants for 2022.
On the other hand, Cyprus received the highest number of first-time asylum applicants relative to the population – a total of 23,864 first-time applicants per one million inhabitants, followed by Austria (11,848) and Luxembourg (3,711).
While the EU’s average of first-time asylum applicants was 1,973 per million people, countries that have the lowest reception rates of applicants are Hungary, which received five first-time applicants per million people, followed by Slovakia (92) and Czechia (127).
As per those that received protection, the EU Agency for Asylum (EUAA) reveals that around 22,800 people were granted protection status in January of 2023 alone, while over half of the positive decisions granted refugee status.
Many European countries have extended the Temporary Portection Directive, in an effort to support people from Ukraine fleeing the country due to security concerns. More specifically, countries like the Netherlands, Lithuania, Slovakia, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland, have agreed to extend residence permits validity until March 4, 2024, making the stay of millions of people legal until this deadline.