1. In July 2023 some 87,000 asylum applications were lodged in the EU+ which is an increase of 20% compared to the same month in 2022.
2. Syrians lodged by far the most applications in July 2023: nearly 15,000 in total which is up by 63% compared to the same time last year.
3. Together, Germany, France, Spain and Italy received two thirds of all applications in the EU+.
4. Per capita, Cyprus received the most applications in July 2023 – 1 for every 1,000 inhabitants.
5. The EU+ recognition rate, the percentage of decisions granting either refugee status or subsidiary protection, remained stable at 42%.
6. At the end of July 2023, the number of asylum cases awaiting first instance decisions reached 687,000 cases, which is up by 34% compared to July 2022.
Applications for asylum have exceeded 80,000 per month almost consistently since August 2022 which represents a major increase not seen since the refugee crisis of 2015-16. In July 2023, some 87,000 applications were lodged in the EU+ which is an increase of a fifth (20%) compared to July 2022.
This high level of asylum applications underestimates the total number of persons arriving with protection needs, because about 4.2 million displaced persons from Ukraine are, in addition, also benefitting from temporary protection. Simultaneously, these two trends are exerting a substantial strain on EU+ asylum and reception systems, pushing national authorities to their limits to accommodate and safeguard those in need.
The asylum landscape has for some time been dominated by Syrians and Afghans who in July 2023 continued to lodge the most applications for asylum (15,000 and 9,000, respectively), with Syrians lodging significantly more applications than in July 2022 (+63%) but Afghan applications remaining relatively stable. Together, these two citizenships accounted for more than a quarter of all applications in July 2023. Germany stood out as a primary destination, with nearly half of all Afghan and more than half of all Syrian applications being lodged there, plus both were among the most detected citizenships illegally crossing the EU external border through the Western Balkan and to a lesser extent also on the Eastern Mediterranean routes. Turks also lodged many applications in July 2023 (6,700), up by three quarters (77%) compared to July 2022, with more than half of all applications also being lodged in Germany.
Unrelated to trends in irregular migration, there is a persistent pattern of increased asylum applications being lodged by Venezuelans and Colombians, and to a lesser extent, Peruvians, all of whom benefit from visa free access to the Schengen area. These Latin Americans continued to submit high numbers of applications such that in July 2023, they lodged 5,000 (Venezuela) 4,700 (Colombia) and 1,800 (Peru) applications apiece, all down slightly from recent peaks but majorly increased compared to a year ago in July 2022 (+35%, +33% and +67%, respectively). The vast majority of these applications were, and continue to be, lodged in Spain (more than 87% of Venezuelan applications and 85% of those by Colombians in July 2023) and practically all of them were first-time applications which may suggest that the applicants were newly arrived to the EU+.
Throughout early 2023, Ivorians and Guineans were increasingly detected on the Central Mediterranean route, paralleled by increasing levels of asylum applications, particularly in Italy. In July 2023, Ivorian and Guinean applications were still much higher than a year ago. Moroccans have also been lodging more applications for asylum in the last months than a year ago (even though the level was somewhat higher in the autumn of 2022). In fact, they lodged 2,700 applications in July which is up by three quarters (76%) compared to July 2023 – with the most applications being lodged in Austria.
To eliminate month-to-month fluctuations and provide a broad overview, the chart above assesses the asylum application trends of the top 20 nationalities in the EU+ over the last 12 months (yellow) in comparison to the preceding 12 months (blue). Although Syrians and Afghans lodged the most applications for asylum during both these time periods, Syrian applications increased considerably, whereas Afghan applications remained relatively stable.
Most citizenships in the chart exhibited an upward change in their application numbers, which is to some extent a statistical artefact because we would expect those with decreasing trends to more likely drop below the top 20, and vice versa for those with increasing trends. Nevertheless, it is notable that Turks, Russians and Peruvians all lodged more than twice as many applications during the 12 months leading up to July 2023. Colombians, Moroccans, Egyptians and Iranians also lodged many more applications in the past year.
In contrast, only a few of the top citizenships had fewer applications. These include Iraqis, Nigerians and Ukrainians but it is worth noting that the later tend to register for temporary protection rather than lodging applications for asylum. Read the EUAA report on the implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive.
In July 2023, Germany maintained its position as the foremost destination for asylum seekers in the EU+, receiving over 25,000 applications which represents 29% of all applications lodged in the EU+. Remarkably, Germany alone received more applications than the next two receiving countries combined, namely France and Spain. Both of them received around 12,000 applications apiece, each constituting 14% of the total. Italy too featured prominently in the asylum landscape with over 10,000 applications which is a non-trivial 12% of all applications in the EU+. It is worth noting that taken together these four countries received over two thirds of all applications lodged in the EU+ in July 2023.
Comparisons with July 2022 reveal some notable increases: applications in Germany increased by 66%, in Spain by 37%, and in Italy by a massive 85%.
Evaluating which EU+ countries tend to receive the most applications for asylum is important but to some extent a simple like-for-like comparison is not appropriate because the EU+ countries vary wildly in terms of the size and capacity of their asylum and reception systems. As a rough measure of their overall capacity and a more nuanced estimation of the pressure exerted on national authorities, this chart illustrates the number of asylum applications lodged per million inhabitants (Eurostat population data).
Cyprus, with a small population size of just under a million (905,000), received nearly a thousand applications for asylum in July 2023, resulting in over 1,000 applications per million population size, or approximately 1 application for every 1,000 persons. Next in line, Austria, with a population 10 times the size of Cyprus, received many asylum applications in July 2023 (5,500) translating to 600 applications per million population, or roughly 1 application for every 1,600 inhabitants.
Taking the entire EU+ into consideration, with a total population of 461 million and 87,000 asylum applications received in July 2023, this converts to 190 applications per million population, or about 1 application for every 5,300 persons.
Uniquely among EU+ countries, Hungary did not receive any applications for asylum probably because of special conditions required to submit an asylum application which were introduced by the Hungarian government in May 2020. Read more in the EUAA Asylum Report 2021.
In addition to asylum applications, beneficiaries of temporary protection were most notable in Czechia (34 per 1 000 inhabitants), followed by Estonia (27), Poland (26), Lithuania (25) and Bulgaria (24).
Over the last year, the recognition rate, which reflects the percentage of asylum applications that receive decisions granting refugee status and subsidiary protection, fluctuated around 40%. In July 2023 this trend continued with a recognition rate of 42%. It is worth noting that, recognition rates for most of the main citizenships differ wildly from each other but tend to remain relatively steady over time.
For example, in July 2023, Iranians continued to have a recognition rate of around 48%, Bangladeshis 6% and Pakistanis 11%, all in line with preceding months. However, there are recent exceptions, such as Turks for whom the recognition rate reduced from 38% in July 2022 to 25% in July 2023, and Iraqis for whom the recognition rate increased from 21% in July 2022 to 47% in July 2023. However, by far the most significant changes in recent times took place for:
- Syrians – Although the overall recognition rate for fluctuated between 92% and 96% from March 2022 to June 2023, in July 2023, it lowered to 88% slightly down compared to the trend over the last year. This shift in recognition rate was accompanied by a longer-term trend favouring decisions granting subsidiary protection over refugee status.
Read EUAA Country Guidance on Syria and the following EUAA COI reports from 2022 on Syria Security situation, Targeting of individuals, Socio-economic situation and Major human rights, security and humanitarian developments
- Ukrainians – after the full-scale Russian invasion in February 2022, the recognition rate for Ukrainians jumped from around 14% in February 2022 to 93% in April 2022. Since then, it has remained almost always above 90% with nearly all decisions granting subsidiary protection rather than refugee status.
- Afghans – In the aftermath of the Taliban takeover in autumn 2021, the recognition rate for Afghans jumped from its usual value of around 50% to more than 90%, before gradually returning to its former level. Adding to the complexity, over the last few months there are signs of another increase up to 64% in July 2023.
Read EUAA Country Guidance on Afghanistan and the following EUAA COI reports from 2022 on Afghanistan Targeting of Individuals, Security Situation, Key socio-economic indicators and Major legislative, security-related, and humanitarian developments
Context: It should be noted that some applicants, especially those from Venezuela and to a lesser extent from Afghanistan, tend to be granted national (rather than international) forms of protection which are unregulated at the EU level and are therefore considered as negative asylum decisions in these statistics. Also, these recognition rates are based on first instance decisions issued by asylum authorities and do not account for cases decided by judiciary and other authorities at second or higher instance i.e. appeal and review.
The aim of EUAA’s work is to foster a harmonised implementation of the Common European Asylum System across the EU so as to reach a situation where an application for international protection would receive the same decision, no matter where it was lodged. Recognition rates, the percentage of asylum applications that receive decisions granting refugee status or subsidiary protection, are sometimes cited as an indicator of the level of such harmonisation between EU+ countries.
It is important to recognise that several objective factors may lead to variations in recognition rates. The complexity of an asylum application and its examination cannot be reduced to the sole nationality of the applicant. Differences in the underlying profile of the applicant, national jurisprudence and national policies, or the application of certain legal concepts, also come into play and can result in different recognition rates (Read Asylum Report - National policies on specific profiles and nationalities). Irrespective of underlying causes, the chart presented here illustrates recognition rates across the EU+ for various citizenships. In each column, individual circles represent different issuing countries, with the size of each circle reflecting the number of decisions issued, and their placement on the vertical axis indicating the corresponding recognition rate—namely, the percentage of decisions that resulted in the granting of refugee status or subsidiary protection.
Between May and July 2023, the EU+ recognition rate for Afghans stood at 64% but as the chart shows, there was much variation between EU+ countries. Most decisions were issued by Germany where the recognition rate was 57%. However, it is important to note that Germany also issued many decisions to Afghans granting a national form of protection (39% of all first instance decisions, not shown). France also issued many decisions to Afghans with a recognition rate of 70%, while Switzerland issued 97% positive decisions to Afghans, compared to Belgium with 30%. Read EUAA Country Guidance on Afghanistan.
In contrast, the recognition rate for Syrians exhibited a much higher degree of consistency among EU+ countries. Among the countries issuing the most decisions for Syrians, Austria and Bulgaria had recognition rates of 99%, the Netherlands 96% and Germany 92%. This similarity in recognition rates suggests a more consistent assessment of protection needs among Syrians across these EU+ countries.
While an application is awaiting a first instance decision, it is part of the first instance caseload of applications under examination or so-called pending cases. The number of pending cases serves as a key indicator that reflects the workload faced by national authorities and the strain on national asylum systems, including reception systems. As of the end of July 2023, some 687,000 cases were awaiting a first instance decision which is up by a third (34%) compared to July 2022. In fact, given some missing data, the overall number of pending cases at first instance likely exceeded 700,000, which would be more than at any other point since early 2017 when EU+ countries were still processing cases lodged during the refugee crisis of 2015-16.
In general, citizenships lodging the most applications tend to have the most cases awaiting decisions. For example, in July 2023, Syrians and Afghans had the largest share of pending cases (89,000 and 69,000, respectively). This situation was particularly pronounced for Syrians, with a 52% increase compared to July 2022, while the number of pending cases for Afghans remained relatively stable.
Over the past year, several nationalities have seen their pending cases more than double. This trend was especially evident for Colombians and Peruvians primarily in Spain, Turks and Iranians mostly in Germany, and Egyptians primarily in Italy.
Context: EU+ asylum authorities are under pressure to increase their decision making, and do so often with the operational support of the EUAA. Despite these efforts, decision making has not kept pace with the number of applications being lodged. As a consequence, the total number of cases awaiting a decision at the end of June 2023 (including those in appeal or review) increased to 958,000 (Eurostat data). Within this total, 71% (684,000) cases were pending at first instance, while the remaining 29% (274,000) were awaiting decisions at second or higher instances.
In July 2023, Syrians continued to lodge the most applications in the EU+, with 15,000 applications representing 17% of the total. This represents a notable increase of 63% compared to the same month in 2022. However, despite this surge in applications, the number of first instance decisions that Syrians received in July 2023 (almost 11,000) rose only marginally compared to the same period the previous year. This discrepancy contributed to an increase in the number of cases pending at first instance, which reached 89,000 by the end of July 2023.
Of all the first instance decisions issued in July 2023, 88% granted protection, which is down slightly compared to the trend over the last year.
It is important to note that a significant proportion of Syrian applications are typically lodged in Germany, accounting for 52% of the total in July 2023. Other notable receiving countries for Syrian applicants include Austria (15%), the Netherlands (9%) and Bulgaria (8%). This distribution highlights the significant role of Germany as a primary destination for Syrians seeking asylum within the EU+.
In July 2023, Afghans continued to lodge many applications in the EU+: 9,000 (10% of the total) which is more or less stable compared with the same month in 2022. At the same time, they received just 6,600 first instance decisions which is down by -16% compared to the same time last year. This gap contributed to a slight increase in the number of first instance pending cases up to 69,000 at the end of July 2023. Of all the first instance decisions issued in July 2023, 64% granted international protection, which is up slightly compared to trends over the last year. It is important to note that, besides refugee status and subsidiary protection, some 19% of first instance decisions granted a national form of protection.
Most Afghan applications tend to be lodged in Germany (43% of the total in July 2023), followed by France (16%), Austria (12%) and other EU+ receiving countries.
In July 2023, Turks continued to lodge many applications in the EU+: 6,700 (8% of the total) which is up by a significant 77% compared with the same month in 2022. At the same time, they received just 3,000 first instance decisions which is up by 54% compared to the same time last year but still well below the number of applications. Accordingly, a major increase in the number of first instance pending cases accumulated and built up by 146% to 50,000 at the end of July 2023. Of all the first instance decisions issued in July 2023, 25% granted international protection, which is consistent with a declining rate over the last eighteen months.
Most Turkish applications tend to be lodged in Germany (58% of the total in July 2023), followed by France (12%), Switzerland (8%) and Austria (7%). This distribution highlights the significant role of Germany as a primary destination for Syrians seeking asylum within the EU+.
In July 2023, Venezuelans continued to lodge many applications in the EU+: 5,000 (6% of the total) which is up by a significant 35% compared with the same month in 2022. At the same time, they received 3,000 first instance decisions or more than twice as many as in the same period last year, albeit still below the number of applications. This state of play contributed to a slight increase in the number of first instance pending cases up by 15% to 39,000 at the end of July 2023. Of all the first instance decisions issued in July 2023, just 3% granted international protection, which is consistent with the last year or so. It is important to note that a vast majority of the first instance decisions issued (91%) granted a national form of protection.
The overwhelming majority of Venezuelan applications tends to be lodged in Spain (87% of the total in July 2023), followed by Germany (7%) and Italy (3%).
In July 2023, Colombians continued to lodge many applications in the EU+: 4,700 (5% of the total) which is up by 33% compared with the same month in 2022. At the same time, they received just 5,500 first instance decisions which is up by 49% compared to the same time last year but still well below the number of applications. The difference between applications lodged and cases processed contributed to a major increase in the number of first instance pending cases up by 113% to 57,000 at the end of July 2023. Of all the first instance decisions issued in July 2023, 4% granted international protection, which is consistent with the last year or so.
The overwhelming majority of applications tends to be lodged in Spain (85% of the total in July 2023), followed by Germany (5%), Italy and France (3% each).
The Survey of Asylum-related Migrants (SAM) is a multi-country project designed to collect testimonies directly from people seeking international protection across the EU+. Based on the premise that digital literacy is increasingly prevalent, the project uses online, self-administered surveys that can be completed on smartphones and offers the possibility to survey large numbers of migrants at the same time. The primary objective of SAM is to establish a permanent system of collecting standardised, reliable, and comparable data on relevant topics, such as push and pull factors, travel histories and migrants’ future aspirations. Understanding these drivers both facilitates general preparedness to deal with a high number of arrivals but also to better inform policymakers.
On 11 April 2022, the EUAA launched the Survey of Arriving Migrants for Displaced People from Ukraine, with the support of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The questionnaire was updated in February 2023 to include additional topics. Demographics of the responses since February 2023, as of 11 September 2023, are shown below.
The survey is ongoing and accessible in Ukrainian, Russian and English at: https://tellusyourstorysurvey.eu/.
For more information on SAM and on other projects related to displacement from Ukraine, access the following reports:
This Migration Research Series paper highlights four research projects employed by the EUAA that seek to understand displacement from Ukraine to the European Union.
The report covers national developments in the implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive, from crisis measures to changing legislation and practices.
*Blank fields are indicative of EU+ countries not reporting on certain indicators
**Low values are rounded to the nearest 5
|Country code||EU+ country||Authority||Disclaimer|
|AT||Austria||Federal Ministry of the Interior||No major differences are expected between national and EUAA data. If discrepancies occur, they could be the result of differences in the timing of data extraction, the scope of data definitions, collection methodologies and/or retrospective revisions.|
|BE||Belgium||Office of the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS)||No major differences are expected between national and EUAA data. If discrepancies occur, they could be the result of differences in the timing of data extraction, the scope of data definitions, collection methodologies and/or retrospective revisions.|
|BG||Bulgaria||State Agency for Refugees||No major differences are expected between national and EUAA data. If discrepancies occur, they could be the result of differences in the timing of data extraction, the scope of data definitions, collection methodologies and/or retrospective revisions.|
|CH||Switzerland||State Secretariat for Migration|
|CY||Cyprus||Asylum Service, Ministry of Interior|
|CZ||Czechia||Ministry of Interior|
|DE||Germany||Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)||National and EUAA data should be aligned for all indicators, but there may be differences for some breakdowns. Relocated applicants aren't considered in national statistics. In national statistics withdrawn applications are included in otherwise closed cases ("sonstige Verfahrenserledigungen"). Some first-instance decisions that in EUAA statistics are considered as negative decisions, in national statistics are classified as otherwise closed cases.|
|DK||Denmark||The main causes to differences between national statistics and EUAA EPS data is the group of cases included in the statistics. For example, national statistics for asylum includes both first- and final-instance determinations and both applications, determinations in appeal, reopened cases and determinations in review.|
|EE||Estonia||European Police and Border Guard Board (in Estonian only)||In general, the data should not differ, there may be cases where the data is corrected afterwards. The small difference with Eurostat data is due to the fact that Eurostat rounds the data.|
|ES||Spain||Ministry of Interior||
1. National indicators are disaggregated by sex, citizenship and age group but there are no breakdowns for first versus subsequent applications, accompanied and unaccompanied minors or to identify decisions based on Dublin closures or relocations.
|FR||France||French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons|
|HR||Croatia||Ministry of Interior|
|HU||Hungary||National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing|
|IE||Ireland||International Protection Office|
|IT||Italy||Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration, Ministry of Interior|
|LT||Lithuania||Migration Department, Ministry of Interior|
|LU||Luxembourg||Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs||National indicators do not include children born on the Luxembourgish territory during the asylum procedure of its parents, while those children are included in the EUAA statistics. Another reason for differences can be adjustments of the data that are carried out retrospectively on the provisional data provided to EUAA.|
|LV||Latvia||Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs|
|MT||Malta||International Protection Agency|
|NL||Netherlands||Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)|
|NO||Norway||Directorate for Immigration (in Norwegian only)||
Applications: National indicators are based on the date of making the applications. The revised numbers for 2022 count persons strictly. So if one person applied for both international protection and TPD only one is counted. The pseudo-algorithm for withdrawals are disregarded compared to other statuses. If a person have multiple TPDs only, the first one is counted. The same for multiple applications for international protection.
Decisions issued: National indicators are based on the most recent decision at first instance before the case is transferred to second/final instance. For example, if a person receives a decision of implicit withdrawal and then re-appears, and receives another decision this decision will be reported in the statistics. We use the same logic to Eurostat, but the first deicion is reports to EUAA."
|PL||Poland||Office for Foreigners||
|PT||Portugal||Immigration and Borders Service||No major differences are expected between national and EUAA data. If discrepancies occur, they could be the result of differences in the timing of data extraction, the scope of data definitions, collection methodologies and/or retrospective revisions.
|RO||Romania||General Inspectorate for Immigration|
|SI||Slovenia||Ministry of Interior|
|SK||Slovakia||Ministry of Interior|
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.
EU+ refers to the 27 European Union Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland.
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 at 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
This page is produced by EUAA’s Situational Awareness Unit (SAU) based on monthly data exchanged under the Early Warning and Preparedness System (EPS). The data shared with the EUAA by EU+ countries are provisional and unvalidated and, therefore, may differ from validated data submitted to Eurostat at a later stage under Regulation (EU) 2020/851.
Date of release: 25 September 2023