Published: 28 January 2021

Travel restrictions continue to impact the number of asylum applications in the EU+

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Analysis released today by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) indicates that in November 2020, applications for international protection in the EU+ continued at roughly two thirds of pre-COVID-19 levels. Despite efforts of national asylum authorities to adapt and ensure that applications can be lodged, ongoing restrictions on travel and mobility limit the ability of asylum seekers to reach the EU+ and seek international protection. For example, probably because of COVID-19 travel restrictions and despite visa-free access to the Schengen area, Colombians and Venezuelans lodged far fewer applications compared to before the pandemic. At the same time, an increasing proportion of applications are being re-submitted in the same receiving country.

About 42 900 decisions were issued at first instance in November, exceeding the number of applications. This contributed to reducing the backlog of cases pending at first instance to 410 900 at the end of November, the lowest level since mid-2019. Especially Syrian and Colombian applicants were issued more decisions than expected based on the number of applications awaiting a decision. The recognition rate in the EU+ stabilised at around 35 % in October and November, after varying widely during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against the overall trend, Ukrainians are lodging more asylum applications: each month from September to November, Ukrainians lodged more than 700 applications in the EU+, the highest level since November 2019. However, so far in 2020 the recognition rate of Ukrainians was just 7 %.

For more information and an interactive data visualisation, please visit the Latest Asylum Trends page.

Any further information may be obtained from the European Asylum Support Office on the following email address:
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