Requests for asylum in the European Union in 2019 have increased for the first time since the spike in 2015, according to data published on Wednesday by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
“More than 714,000 applications were made in 2019” in the 28 countries of the EU, Norway and Switzerland, a figure that is “up by 13% in comparison to 2018,” EASO pointed out in a press release, emphasising that “this is the first time since 2015 that there are more requests than in the previous year.”
In 2015, the number of applications for international protection had reached a record of nearly 1.4 million, according to EASO.
The asylum seekers’ three main countries of origin are Syria (some 72,000 applications, a similar level to 2018), Afghanistan (nearly 60,000, up by 30%) and Venezuela (45,000, double the figure in 2018).
“The rise can be put down mainly to a net increase in applications made by the nationals of several Latin-American countries who are exempt from holding visas” to travel within the Schengen zone, EASO pointed out in. The same applies but “to a lesser extent to a rise in applications from Afghans and other countries’ nationals,” the report added.
The international protection applications only result in positive decisions in 33% of cases, a figure that remains stable.
Syrians (85%), Yemenis (82%) and Eritreans (81%) are the main beneficiaries, whereas the positive response rate is generally very low for the nationals of visa-exempted countries such as Macedonia (1%), Venezuela (5%) and Albania (6%).
Approximately one application in 10 was lodged by a person who had previously had their request turned down.