News Published: 21 April 2023
Overall asylum caseload stable, despite important increases in some nationalities
In February, Venezuelan and Colombian nationals lodged twice as many applications, year-on-year; a level which has only been exceeded once since 2014. Russians and Iranians also applied in significant numbers. At the end of the month, there were 650 000 applications pending a decision at first instance, which is broadly consistent with January. Syrians and Afghans represented the largest caseload.
According to analysis just published by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), EU+ countries recorded around 81 000 asylum applications in February 2023. This represents a one third increase in applications compared to the same period last year, but is a decrease over the previous month (92 000). More citizenships are increasingly seeking protection in Europe, including more Turks, Colombians, Venezuelans, and Russians. In addition, over 4 million Ukrainians currently benefit from temporary protection in the EU.
Small monthly decreases, despite underlying trends
At the end of February, Syrians (9 500) and Afghans (9 300) continued to lodge the most applications for asylum. Turks (5 200) lodged twice as many applications as in February 2022. Meanwhile, Venezuelans (5 200) and Colombians (5 200) also lodged twice as many applications each. Both nationalities benefit from visa liberalisation in Europe.
EU+ countries also continued to receive many applications from Russians (2 100) which have tripled as compared to last year, as well as Iranians (1 600) which have doubled.
High caseloads for some nationalities
At the end of February, there were 650 000 applications pending a decision at first instance, a 43 % increase since last year, although stable month-on-month (644 000 in January). Syrians and Afghans had the most pending cases by far with 90 000 and 72 000, respectively, representing one quarter of all decisions pending at first instance. During the same month, pending cases for Turks (42 000) and Russians (17 000) had doubled compared to last year, whereas Colombian cases had tripled (42 000).
In February 2023, the EU+ recognition rate was 41%, consistent with recent months and during the same period in 2022. During the month, EU+ countries granted refugee status most often to Afghans and granted subsidiary protection most often to Syrians. Recognition rates for other nationalities mostly remained consistent, including for Syrians (95%), Iranians (45%), Pakistanis (8%) and Bangladeshis (4%). However, the recognition rate for Turks has declined steadily, from just over 50% at the end of 2021 to 29% in February 2023.