Number of first time asylum seekers down to fewer than 290 000 in the first quarter of 2016

Number of first time asylum seekers down to fewer than 290 000 in the first quarter of 2016

Number of first time asylum seekers down to fewer than 290 000 in the first quarter of 2016

The FINANCIAL -- During the first quarter of 2016 (from January to March 2016), 287 100 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), down by 33% compared with the fourth quarter of 2015 (when 426 000 first time applicants were registered) .

With over 102 000 first time applicants between January and March 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU Member States, ahead of Iraqis and Afghans (both with around 35 000 first time applicants). They represent the three main citizenships of first time asylum applicants in the EU Member States over the first quarter 2016, accounting for 60% of all first time applicants.

Six in ten applied for asylum in Germany

During the first quarter 2016, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with almost 175 000 first time applicants, or 61% of total first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Italy (22 300, or 8%), France (18 000, or 6%), Austria (13 900, or 5%) and the United Kingdom (10 100, or 4%). Among those Member States with high numbers of asylum seekers, numbers of first time applicants in the first quarter 2016 compared with the previous quarter fell notably in the Nordic Member States – Sweden (-91%), Finland (-85%) and Denmark (-74%) – as well as in the Netherlands (-72%), Belgium (-70%), Luxembourg (-59%) and Austria (-55%).

Highest number of first time applicants relative to the population in Germany and Austria

Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rate of registered first time applicants during the first quarter 2016 was recorded in Germany (2 155 first time applicants per million inhabitants) and Austria (1 619), ahead of Malta (904), Luxembourg (888), Sweden (790), Cyprus (749) and Hungary (693). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (3 applicants per million inhabitants), Estonia (4), Romania (11), Lithuania (13), Portugal (14) and Latvia (16). In the first quarter 2016, there were in total 565 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.

More than a third of first time asylum seekers continued to originate from Syria

Syria (36% of the total number of first time applicants) remained during the first quarter of 2016 the main country of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU Member States. Of the 102 400 Syrians who applied for the first time for asylum in the EU in the first quarter 2016, more than 85% were registered in Germany (88 500). In total, Syrians represented the main citizenship of asylum seekers in seven EU Member States.

Iraq and Afghanistan (12% each of the total number of first time applicants) were the second and third main countries of citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU Member States in the first quarter 2016. Of the 35 000 Iraqis seeking asylum protection for the first time in the EU Member States during the period January-March 2016, almost three-quarters (25 600) applied in Germany. Of the almost 35 000 Afghans, more than half were registered also in Germany (19 800).

Over a million asylum applications pending

Pending applications for international protection are those that have been made, at any time and are still under consideration by the responsible national authority at the end of the reference period. In other words, they refer to the “stock” of applications for which decisions are still pending. This indicator is meant to measure the workload of the national authorities.

At the end of March 2016, slightly more than 1 million applications for asylum protection in the EU Member States were under consideration by the responsible national authority. A year earlier, at the end of March 2015, there were around 560 000. With 473 000 pending applications at the end of March 2016 (or 47% of the EU total), Germany had by far the largest share in the EU, ahead of Sweden (147 300, or 15%), Austria (84 500, or 8%), Italy (60 000, or 6%) and France (42 900, or 4%).