The number of asylum applications filed in the European Union rose by 13 percent in 2019, marking the first increase since 2015.
Over 714,000 applications were filed during 2019, up from roughly 635,000 the previous year, according to figures released by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
"There were five times as many applications for asylum than detections at the external border, the agency said. "Hence, applications are becoming less associated with irregular migration."
“The top three countries of origin of applicants were Syria (about 72,000), Afghanistan (60,000) and Venezuela (45,000). Afghans sought asylum in far larger numbers than a year earlier, as did Venezuelans, who lodged more than twice as many applications (approximately 22,000 applications in 2018).”
A large increase in applications by nationals from Latin American countries was cited as a driver for the overall increase, with many coming from citizens of Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras.
EASO reports the application approval rate stands at approximately 33 percent, with clear preference being given to people from countries in Africa and the Middle East.
“Syrian (85%), Yemeni (82%) and Eritrean (81%) nationals had the highest recognition rates, whereas the number of positive decisions for visa-free nationals was generally extremely low,” EASO explains.
“Examples of the low recognition rate for visa-exempt applicants were seen among Western-Balkan citizenships, ranging from 1% for North Macedonians to 6% for Albanians. Recognition rates for Venezuelans (at 5%) and Colombians (at 7%) were also low.”
Over 900,000 asylum cases were awaiting a final decision by EU authorities at the end of November 2019.
A recent study commissioned by the Netherlands found that an overwhelming majority of 'asylum seekers' arriving in Europe are not returning to their home countries after their applications are rejected.
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