Over 40,000 foreigners have filed an application seeking asylum in European Union countries, during August, which marks a slight decrease compared to July (about 43,000 applications), and a significant drop of 40 per cent, compared to January figures (65,692 applications), according to the latest European Asylum Support Office (EASO) report.
Since the beginning of this year, a total of 295,075 persons lodged an application in European Union countries. However, compared to the same period last year, these figures mark a 31 per cent decrease. The decrease in the number of asylum applications show the impact of the current Coronavirus situation, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Citizens coming from Syria, (5,394 – 13 per cent of total) together with Afghans (3,800 – 10 per cent of total) continue to make the highest number of lodged applications, followed by citizens of Venezuela (3,600 – 9 per cent of total) and Colombia (3,300 – 7 per cent of total), according to the EASO’s report.
A significant increase in the number of applications has also been registered by nationals of Pakistan, Somalia, Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Nigeria. Compared to July levels, the number of Peruvians and Colombians also marked an increase regarding the international protection in the European Union.As for the responses regarding the field applications, 26 per cent of applicants received a positive decision, during August, compared to July, when only 23 per cent of applicants gained international protection. The recognition rate stands at 31 per cent, from January until August 2020.
“Despite the challenges, and because of new working arrangements in place, EU+ asylum authorities have been able to issue more first-instance decisions (over 43 200 in August) than there were applications lodged, which means that even in these difficult times, the backlog is being reduced,” the statement reads.
According to EASO, the number of persons who filed an asylum application, in European Union countries, in June, was 31,500.
“The numbers show that about half as many applications for international protection were lodged compared to the months immediately before the Coronavirus outbreak,” the report stressed.
As for May, it marked an 84 per cent decrease in the number of asylum applications, compared to the pre-pandemic situation.
The EASO report highlighted that 10,200 applications were lodged in May, which showed a slight increase compared to April; however, the decline was considered dramatic compared to January 2020 level.
In April, only 8,730 persons sought international protection in EU+, marking the lowest number of asylum applications since at least 2008. Compared to January and February, the figure observed an 87 per cent decrease, EASO revealed.
Travel restrictions and entry bans were the main reasons that caused the decrease in the number of asylum applications filed in Europe.
“Despite the emergency measures, there were still almost ten times as many applications for asylum as detected illegal border crossings (900) into the EU+ in April. The disparity indicates that despite the temporary suspension of certain asylum activities in many EU+ countries, some countries did continue lodging applications,” the European Asylum Support Office special report reads.
In March, 34,737 persons sought asylum in European Union countries, marking a 43 per cent decrease compared to February.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic situation, persons seeking to apply for international protection in Europe had started to increase, compared to figures published in 2019.
EASO previously announced that 65,300 applications were filed in January 2020, while during February there were 61,100 applications for asylum in European countries.
During 2019, international protection in European Union + countries was increased by 11 per cent to 738,425. A total of 16 per cent increase was also recorded during the first two months of 2020, compared to the same period one year earlier, according to the statistics published by the European Asylum Support Office.
Even though the Coronavirus pandemic situation led to an 87 per cent decrease in the number of filed applications, the EASO, back then announced that it expects that the increasing trend will be resumed.