Latest Asylum Trends

November 2022

Recognition rate - legend
Pending cases - legend

Source: EUAA EPS, November 2020 – November 2022

© EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries. The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the European Union. The designation "Kosovo" is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

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.

 

Key Findings

  • EU+ countries received some 107 300 asylum applications in November 2022, a new high since 2016 and the third consecutive month with around 100 000 applications.
  • In addition, tens of thousands of persons fleeing Ukraine continued to register for temporary protection in EU+ countries.
  • Syrians and Afghans lodged the most applications in November, followed by Turks, Colombians and Venezuelans.
  • In November, applications were at all-time highs for Turks, Bangladeshis, Moroccans and Georgians, among others. Russians and Iranians applied the most in years.
  • Citizens of visa-liberalised countries lodged a near-record number of applications. 
  • Fewer self-claimed unaccompanied minors applied than in October.
  • EU+ asylum authorities issued some 55 600 first instance decisions in November. The gap between decisions issued and applications lodged remained unusually large.
  • As a result, cases pending at first instance continued increasing and reached 619 500 at the end of November, a new high since 2017.
  • The EU+ recognition rate was 39 % in November. Recognition rates were especially high for Syrians and Ukrainians, Belarusians, Yemenis, Malians and Eritreans.

Third consecutive month with around 100 000 applications in the EU+

EU+ countries have continued to receive unusually many applications for asylum. In November 2022, some 107 300 asylum applications were lodged in the EU+ (including estimations for one EU+ country). This was roughly as many as in October and slightly more than in September. Applications not only remained at the highest level since 2016 but the build-up and recent clustering of unusually high levels signals mounting pressure on national systems. This development comes on top of tens of thousands of persons fleeing Ukraine who continue to register for temporary protection in the EU+.

Relatively many applications lodged by all main applicant groups

In November, applications for each of the 10 main applicant groups were high relative to the monthly levels recorded since 2017. Syrians lodged the second most applications (some 17 700), only behind October 2022, and Afghans the third most (14 900). As in each month since August, Turks remained the third largest applicant group in November (see country focus). In fact, applications by Turks (8 300), Bangladeshis (3 900), Moroccans (3 100) and Georgians (3 000) marked new all-time highs[1]  (see country focus). Colombians (4 900) applied the most since early 2020, ahead of Venezuelans (4 800). At about 3 500 applications each, Pakistanis applied in stable numbers compared to October and Indians lodged fewer applications. Nevertheless, this was still high compared to the monthly levels recorded since 2017. Jointly, the 10 main applicant groups accounted for more than three fifths of all applicants in November. 

Outside the 10 main applicant groups, all-time highs were recorded for citizens of Egypt (some 1 800), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (1 400) and Peru (1 300), among others. Applying in higher numbers for the third consecutive month, Russians (2 300) lodged the most applications since 2016 but still fewer than might have been expected following the Russian mobilisation in September. Iranians (2 000) applied the most since 2018, Ivorians the most since 2017 and Algerians the most since 2016 (1 100 each). At 930, applications lodged by Palestinians were the highest on record except for January 2019. In contrast, Tunisian applications (2 000) declined by 42 %. After they had been rising almost continuously during 2022, the trend reversed as Serbia changed its visa policy towards Tunisians.[2]

Near-record number of applicants from visa-liberalised countries

Citizens of various countries, mostly in Europe and Latin America, do not need a visa to enter the EU.[3]  Such citizens benefitting from the EU visa-free regime jointly accounted for 19 900 applications in November, the most on record[4]  except for the peak in March 2022, when many Ukrainians applied for asylum after the Russian invasion. As Ukrainians can register for temporary protection, their asylum applications have since dropped and have remained stable between 1 000 and 1 200 from June to November. The high number of visa-exempt applicants in November rather reflected increasing applications by Latin Americans, mainly Colombians (see country focus) and Venezuelans but also Peruvians, Brazilians, Argentinians and Ecuadorians. In contrast, fewer applications were received from citizens of European visa-exempt countries in November, including Albania, North Macedonia, Moldova as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina. Overall, from January to November 2022, citizens of visa-exempt countries lodged more than twice as many applications as in the same period in 2021.  

Fewer unaccompanied minors

About 4 400 self-claimed unaccompanied minors (UAMs) applied for asylum in the EU+ in November, substantially fewer than at the peak in October, when close to 5 500 applicants claimed to be UAMs. This was the first decrease in seven months, mainly due to fewer UAMs from Afghanistan. After Afghans had accounted for close to half of all UAMs since early 2021, their share declined to two fifths in November (or 1 700). However, there were also significantly fewer UAMs from Syria (1 300) as well as from Somalia, Eritrea and Türkiye. In contrast, UAM applications from Egyptians (some 110) and Burundians (50) reached new all-time highs (that is, since at least 2014). Overall, self-claimed UAMs accounted for some 4 % of all applicants in November. 

Focus on selected countries of origin of applicants

  • Türkiye  – The number of Turkish applications continued its rapid increase in November, reaching yet another all-time high at some 8 300 applications, + 12 % from October. In recent years, such magnitudes had otherwise only been recorded for Syrians, Afghans and Ukrainians. Since August, Turks have been the third largest group applying for international protection in the EU+. As in the preceding few months, nearly all Turkish applicants in November sought asylum in the EU+ for the first time (97 %).

    Between September and November, more applicants from Türkiye claimed to be UAMs than in the earlier months of 2022. In fact, in October, the number of self-claimed UAMs (120) was the highest on record for Turkish applicants, but it decreased slightly in November (100). Still, the share of UAMs continued to be low (1 % of all Turkish applications).

    EU+ countries issued some 2 200 decisions on Turkish applications at first instance, stable from the previous month but more than in almost all other months in 2022. Nevertheless, given the swift rise in applications, the gap between applications and decisions at first instance continued to widen, reaching a new all-time high (some 6 200 cases). Consequently, pending cases climbed to 34 800 at the end of November, the most on record (i.e. since at least 2014) and double the level at the beginning of 2022.

    The recognition rate for Turkish applicants at first instance continued to decline and dropped to the lowest level in more than five years (30 % in November). As in previous months, almost all positive decisions on Turkish cases granted refugee status (96 % of all positive decisions in November, the second highest share among the main applicant groups). Only 4 % of positive decisions granted subsidiary protection.
     

  • Colombia  – In November, Colombians applied the most in the EU+ since February 2020. At about 4 900, they lodged the third highest level of applications on record (i.e., since the start of EPS data collection in 2014). As a result, Colombians were the fourth largest applicant group in November 2022. Almost all were first-time applicants.

    Compared to October, first instance decisions issued to Colombians dropped by a tenth but remained at relatively high levels (some 1 700), in line with the average of the preceding six months. While applications so far in 2022 were higher than in every year before, first instance decisions were lower compared to the same periods in 2020 and 2021. Although self-claimed UAMs remained a small minority of applicants, their number increased by three quarters compared to the same period last year.

    Cases pending at the end of November reached a new all-time high (some 37 400), three times the level at the beginning of the year. This increase was mainly driven by cases pending for less than six months, which were also the highest on record in November. The recognition rate for Colombians remained low (6 % in November), in line with the average so far in 2022. This is due to most first instance decisions granting a national form of protection (about three quarters in November). A recent EUAA report on Colombia assembled detailed information on the political, security and humanitarian situation.[5]

  • Georgia –In November, Georgian citizens lodged over 3 000 asylum applications in the EU+, which represented the most since at least 2008.[6]  Applications have been relatively high for more than half a year: ranging from 2 400 to 2 700 between May and October. In fact, Georgians have been one of the 10 main applicant groups in almost every month since May 2021. Some 92 % of the Georgians seeking international protection in the EU+ so far in 2022 applied for the first time, and hardly any of the applicants claimed to be UAMs. A recent EUAA report noted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had significant economic and socio-political impacts on Georgia, which may have prompted some Georgian citizens to seek protection in Europe.[7]

    The number of first instance decisions issued to Georgians has also increased so far this year compared to the same period in 2021, albeit at a slower pace than applications. In November, over 1 600 decisions were issued. Nevertheless, pending cases at first instance have been rising and reached 14 800 at the end of November. This was the most since at least early 2014. Two thirds of all cases awaiting a decision had been pending for less than six months. The recognition rate for Georgians was 4 % both in November and so far in 2022, in line with previous years.

 

Gap between applications and decisions not closing

In November, EU+ asylum authorities issued some 55 600 decisions at first instance,[8]  essentially stable from October (+ 3 %) and in line with the average for the previous six months. While decisions have remained roughly stable since June, applications have increased rapidly during this period. Consequently, the gap between applications and decisions had reached the largest extent since 2015 (52 900 in October) and remained almost as large in November (51 700). While accounting for withdrawn applications and other case closures in addition to decisions would reduce this imbalance substantially, most of the gap translated into an increase in pending cases (see below). 

Syrians received some 9 000 decisions at first instance in November, the most among all citizenships and significantly more than in October (+ 13 %), the first increase in six months. Substantially more decisions were also issued to citizens of Venezuela, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In the case of Mali, decisions in November far outnumbered applications lodged. Among others, Iraqis, Colombians and Tunisians received fewer decisions. Stable numbers of decisions were issued notably to Afghans (7 700) as well as Pakistanis, Turks, Bangladeshis and Georgians, while levels of applications in recent months were high for each of these citizenships. In fact, Syrians, Afghans, Turks, Colombians and Bangladeshis accounted for half of the gap between applications and decisions.

More positive decisions granting subsidiary protection 

The EU+ recognition rate was 39 % in November, broadly in line with the previous four months. For the EU+ recognition rate, only decisions that granted refugee status and subsidiary protection are considered positive, in contrast to decisions granting humanitarian protection under national law that are not considered to be part of the Common European Asylum System. Some 12 100 applicants were granted refugee status, and another 9 600 were granted subsidiary protection (up from 8 100 in October). The share of positive decisions granting subsidiary protection increased to 44 %, interrupting the downward trend this share had exhibited since June. This was mainly driven by more decisions being issued to Syrian and Malian applicants, who have often been granted subsidiary protection in recent months. 

In November, among citizenships receiving at least 200 decisions, recognition rates were especially high for Syrians and Ukrainians (95 % each), Belarusians (88 %), Yemenis (87 %), Malians (86 %) and Eritreans (85 %). Recognition rates for these citizenships have been high throughout recent months. Conversely, recognition rates were especially low for citizens of India and North Macedonia (0 % each in November), Moldova (1 %) and Venezuela (2 %) as well as Bangladesh, Morocco, Tunisia and Armenia (3 % each). However, many Venezuelans received humanitarian protection under national law.

Second largest increase in pending cases since 2015

Based on the latest available data, about 920 700 cases were pending at all instances in the EU+ at the end of October 2022,[9]  up by 4 % from September. Compared to a year earlier, pending cases at all instances have increased by 14 %. Cases pending at first instance – those that are still being processed by asylum authorities, not including those that are open in appeal or review (second and higher instances) – increased substantially more, by two fifths between October 2021 and October 2022.

At the end of November 2022, some 619 500 cases were pending at first instance in EU+ countries (data were missing for one EU+ country). The increase by 41 300 cases (+ 7 %) from October was the largest since late 2015 except for the increase in March 2022 (51 000), following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Due to the numerous applications lodged recently, cases pending for up to six months increased more strongly (+ 10 %) than those pending for more than six months (+ 3 %). At the end of November, cases pending for up to six months therefore accounted for a clear majority (55 %). Overall, cases pending at first instance were the most in more than five years. Compared to the beginning of 2022, pending cases have at least doubled for Venezuelans, Colombians, Turks, Ukrainians and Tunisians.