Latest Asylum Trends

Latest asylum trends – April 2019

The visualisation below provides an overview of the key indicators regarding the situation of international protection in the EU+ in the past 24 months. The size of the different circles in the countries of origin is proportional to the volume of applications lodged in EU+ countries, the colour of the circle reflects the recognition rate at first-instance (blue - high, red - low). The shade of the country reflects the stock of pending cases at the end of the selected year. By clicking on a circle, the evolution of these key indicators for the citizenship selected is displayed in the lower panel.

Reference month:   Citizenship:   

 
 
 
 
 

Source: EASO EPS, April 2017 – April 2019.

Asylum applications include all persons who have lodged or have been included in an application for international protection as a family member in the reporting country during the reporting month. 

First-instance decisions include all persons covered by decisions issued on granting EU-regulated international protection status (refugee or subsidiary protection) following a first time or repeated application for international protection in the first instance determination process.

Stock of pending cases includes all cases for which an asylum application has been lodged and are under consideration by the national authority responsible for the first instance determination of the application for international protection (until the first instance decision has been issued) at the end of the reference period (i.e. last day of the reference month). It refers to the “stock” of applications for which decisions in first instance are still pending.

The EU+ recognition rate includes EU-regulated forms of protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) and excludes national protection forms (humanitarian reasons). It is calculated by dividing the number of positive first-instance decisions (granting refugee status or subsidiary protection) by the total number of decisions issued.

 

Asylum applications

In April 2019, there were some 54 640 applications for international protection the EU+, down by 7 % (4 100) compared to the previous month1 but up by 9 % compared to a year ago in March 2018. The moderate decrease in relative terms (- 7 %) was partially due to fewer working days in several countries as well as some missing data. So far in 2019, applications for international protection have been up by 15 % compared to the same period last year.

Citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Venezuela lodged the most applications for international protection in the EU+. These three citizenships lodged far fewer asylum applications than in March, decreasing more than any other citizenship of origin, in particular Venezuelans (- 16 %) and Afghans (- 15 %). Nevertheless, in April, these three citizenships still accounted for one in five applications overall lodged in the EU+. 

Citizens of Iraq, Colombia, Nigeria, Turkey, Georgia, Iran and Pakistan also lodged considerable numbers of applications. All lodged fewer applications than a month earlier, with the notable exception of Iraqis - applying in similar numbers - and Turks (+ 26 %), who were the only citizenship who lodged more applications than in March, but in line with the first two months of 2019. The most considerable decreases were noticed among Eritreans (- 20 %), Nigerians (- 12 %) and Albanians (- 10 %). Similarly, there were fewer applications by nationals of all Latin-American countries, but they continued to account for a large number of applications in the EU+ (almost one in five). As aforementioned, at least part of the declining numbers could be attributable to fewer working days in several EU+ countries. 

Repeated applicants – who previously lodged an application in the same EU+ country – continued to account for one in 10 applicants in the EU+. The citizenships most associated with repeat applications were from the Western Balkan countries, in particular Serbia (34 %), North Macedonia (31 %) and Kosovo (28 %); in some EU+ countries, more than half of these applicants were repeats. Other citizenships with a high share of repeated applicants included the Gambia (29 %), Armenia and Sri Lanka (25 % each).

Some 3 % of all applications were lodged by self-claimed unaccompanied minors (UAMs).2 The highest concentration of UAMs was among nationals of Vietnam and Sudan: one in 10 applicants each.3 Slightly fewer were UAMs among Afghan applicants, accounting for some 9 %.    

 
 

Focus on relevant countries of origin of applicants

Syria - In April 2019, Syrians continued to lodge the most applications for international protection (4 930) down by 8 % from March, and one of the lowest monthly totals registered in the EPS data exchange for this citizenship. About three quarters of all Syrian applications were lodged in just three EU+ countries.

Syrian applicants received some 5 500 first-instance decisions, much fewer than the previous month (- 28 %), which were issued prevalently in three EU+ countries. Overall in the EU+, there were more Syrian case closures (decision or withdrawn or discontinued) than there were applications lodged. Approximately 41 000 Syrian applications were pending at first instance by the end of April, more than three quarters of which were in five EU+ countries.

The EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued in the past six months (November 2018 - April 2019) was 88 %, stable with the previous semester.

Afghanistan – Afghan nationals lodged slightly more than 3 600 asylum applications in the EU+, fewer (- 15 %) than in March. UAMs accounted for one in 10 Afghan applications, as did repeated applications. The vast majority of Afghan applications were lodged equally across just three EU+ countries.

Afghan applicants received some 2 760 first-instance decisions in April, fewer (- 12 %) than a month earlier, but the number of applications awaiting a decision at first instance (about 32 720) remained stable compared to March.  

The first-instance EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued in the past six months was 48 %, two percentage points higher than in the previous semester.

Venezuela – After several months of increasing applications, Venezuelans suddenly lodged fewer applications in April (some 3 600, - 16 %), the largest drop among all the main citizenships of origin. Perhaps coincidentally, fewer applications were also lodged by other Latin-American citizenships.

Venezuelan applicants were subject to about 860 decisions in April, which is an increase compared to recent months but there were still four times as many applications as there were decisions. As a result, the number of cases pending at first instance continued to increase to 36 400 in April, although less sharply than in previous months.

The first-instance EU+ recognition rate for decisions issued in the past six months to Venezuelans was 32 %, up from 29 % in the previous semester.

 


Output of first-instance authorities 

In April, some 44 077 decisions were issued at first instance in the EU+, decreasing by 14 % from March, when more than 51 000 decisions were issued.4 Therefore, the output of first-instance authorities returned to the lower levels of the first two months of 2019, and was the lowest since July 2018. Three quarters of all decisions continued to be issued in just five EU+ countries.  

Syrian applicants continued to receive the most decisions, in fact almost twice as many decisions as any other citizenship. They were followed by Nigerians, Afghans, Iraqis and Pakistanis. Among these, only Nigerians received roughly the same number of decisions as in March; all others received much fewer, with decreases ranging between - 11 % for Pakistani and - 28 % for Syrians. The situation was similar for most other countries of origin, with the notable exception of Venezuelans (+ 55 %), who received more first-instance decisions than in March.


EU+ recognition rates

In April, the EU+ recognition rate at first instance was 34 %,5 slightly lower than over the last six months when it was 36 % (November 2018 – April 2019), similar to the one registered in the previous semester (35 %).6 More than two thirds of all positive decisions granted refugee status, and the remainder subsidiary protection. 

Among the 20 citizenships with most decisions issued between November and April, Syrians (88 %) and Eritreans (79 %) had the highest recognition rate, whereas those from Georgia (3 %) and Albania (5 %) had the lowest. The recognition rate for decisions issued in the last six months (compared to the preceding semester) increased considerably for Turkish (54 %, + 10 p.p.). At a smaller scale, the recognition rates increased also for Somali (50 %, + 4 p.p.) and Gambian (7 %, + 3 p.p.) applicants.


Cases pending at first instance

Pending cases are an important measure of the workload that national asylum authorities face, as well as of the pressure on the national reception systems. At the end of April 2019 there were some 433 699 applications awaiting a decision in first instance in the EU+, about 3 300 fewer than in March.7 Almost three quarters of the backlog at first instance were registered in just five EU+ countries. It must also be noted that, at the end of last year, there were always about twice as many applications awaiting a decision in appeal or review, implying that a considerable part of the backlog has partially been transferred from asylum authorities to judicial bodies.8

With regard to the main citizenships of origin, one in four applications pending at first instance involved applicants from Syria, Venezuela and Afghanistan. Pending applications pertaining to Syrian nationals slightly decreased (by about 860), but for Venezuelans continued to increase (by some 830). The largest decreases, however, took place for Eritreans (about - 1 420) and Nigerians (approximately - 1 350). In contrast, in addition to Venezuelans, the stock of pending cases increased vastly for applicants from Colombia (by about 930 applications), Georgia (by some 270), El Salvador and Honduras (each by about 220 cases).

Slightly more than half of all applications were pending for longer than six months (52 %). For some citizenships, a larger proportion of applicants was awaiting a first-instance decision for longer, as was the case for applicants from several Latin-American countries, such as Venezuela (73 %), Honduras (72 %), El Salvador (67 %) and Colombia (64 %).

 

This page is produced by EASO’s Information and Analysis Unit (IAU) on the basis of monthly data exchanged under the Early Warning and Preparedness System (EPS). The data shared with EASO by the EU+ countries are provisional and unvalidated, and therefore may differ from validated data submitted to Eurostat (according to Regulation (EC) No 862/2007). In line with the dissemination guide on EPS data, EASO cannot publish data disaggregated per EU+ country.

Date of release: 5 June 2019



Notes
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[1] The EU+ is composed of 28 EU Member States plus Norway and Switzerland. Monthly data on applications for international protection were available for 29 EU+ countries. 
[2] Claimed UAM represent the asylum applicants claiming to be below the age of 18 years rather than those assessed to be such after an age assessment has been carried out. Some EU+ countries have difficulties reporting on claimed UAM in the framework of the EPS data exchange. These figures should therefore be considered as underestimations of the actual proportion of claimed UAM.
[3] Among citizenships lodging at least 100 applications overall.
[4] First-instance decisions include all persons covered by decisions issued on granting EU-regulated international protection status (refugee or subsidiary protection) following a first time or repeated application for international protection in the first instance determination process. Data on first-instance decisions were available for 29 EU+ countries.  
[5] The EU+ recognition rate includes EU-regulated forms of protection (refugee status and subsidiary protection) and excludes national protection forms (humanitarian reasons). It is calculated by dividing the number of positive first-instance decisions (granting refugee status or subsidiary protection) by the total number of decisions issued.
[6] It is more meaningful to calculate recognition rates over longer periods of time, to limit sensitivity to low numbers, applicants’ profiles and constraints relating to internal organisation of first-instance authorities (i.e. number of working days).
[7] The overall number of pending cases in March and April include data for the 28 EU+ countries reporting in both months; data for two countries are missing. 
[8] An indication of the cases pending at second and higher instances (i.e. in appeal or review) may be drawn by comparing the number of cases awaiting a decision at first instance (EPS data), with those pending at all instances of the administrative and/or judicial procedure (Eurostat data).