Asylum statistics 2017: Shifting patterns, persisting disparities

Despite reports of asylum applications “dropping off drastically” in the European Union throughout 2017, statistics published by national authorities seem to reveal a more complex picture across the continent.

Germany witnessed a dramatic decrease in applications registered last year (222,683) compared to the year before (745,545). It should be recalled that the majority of people lodging applications in 2016 had in fact arrived in 2015. Nevertheless, Germany still spearheads Europe’s reception of people seeking protection, far ahead of countries such as Italy and France.  

Significant reduction has also been witnessed in Hungary and Bulgaria. On the other hand, more claims were received in Italy, France, Belgium, Norway and Slovenia in 2017 compared to 2016.

Asylum seekers in European countries

Country

2016

 

2017

Germany

745,545

-

222,683

Italy

123,482

+

130,180

France

85,244

+

100,412

Sweden

28,939

-

25,666

Austria

42,073

-

24,296

Belgium

18,710

+

19,688

Netherlands

19,828

-

16,837

Poland

12,321

-

5,061

Bulgaria

19,418

-

3,700

Norway

3,460

+

3,546

Hungary

29,423

-

3,397

Slovenia

1,308

+

1,476

Syria was among the top three countries of origin of asylum seekers in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Bulgaria and Hungary. Afghanistan was among the top three countries of origin in Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia.

On the other hand, different nationalities are recorded as the main countries of origin of applicants in Italy (Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan) and Poland (Russia, Ukraine, Tajikistan). France, for its part, recorded Albania as the top country of origin of applicants last year.

Italy received 9,473 applications by unaccompanied children, far ahead of other countries such as Austria (1,751), Sweden (1,336), the Netherlands (1,181) and Norway (191).  

 

Discrepancies in protection rates

Substantial drops in overall recognition rates were marked in Germany and Sweden in the course of 2017, even though the main nationalities of persons seeking asylum in those countries have remained the same. Conversely, countries including Belgium, Italy, Hungary and Poland had higher recognition rates in 2017 compared to 2016:

Recognition rates for all asylum seekers

Country

2016

2017

Norway

67.6%

70.8%

Austria

67.9%

68.2%

Belgium

59.5%

64.6%

Slovenia

63.9%

63.1%

Germany

71.4%

53%

Sweden

77.4%

46.9%

Italy

39.4%

40%

France

33.2%

26.8%

Bulgaria

44%

35.8%

Hungary

8.5%

29.7%

Poland

16.6%

19.5%

Asylum seekers from Afghanistan continue to face an ‘asylum lottery’ as their chances of obtaining a form of protection ranged from 83.1% in France to 30% in Hungary:

Recognition rates for asylum seekers from Afghanistan

Country

2016

2017

France

82.4%

83.1%

Austria

56%

72%

Belgium

59%

58.6%

Germany

55.8%

47.4%

Sweden

45%

38%

Norway

30%

35.7%

Hungary

6.2%

30%

Decision-making in countries such as Bulgaria, where Afghan claims are treated as “manifestly unfounded” and face “strikingly low” recognition rates, has attracted concern from the European Commission, as per a letter to the Bulgarian authorities.

 

For more information, see:

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti