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EASO: Applications Filed for International Protection by Afghans Approaching Those by Syrians

Nearly 50,000 asylum applications were filed in EU countries during July, which is a significant increase compared to June’s figures, recent analysis published by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) revealed.

According to figures provided by EASO, the top countries of origin during July were the following:

Syria Afghanistan Turkey Pakistan Iraq

During this period, an increase in the number of international protection applications submitted by Afghans was observed, for the fifth consecutive month, to nearly 7,300, or a 21 percent increase compared to the June figures.

Such data showed that the numbers approached the number of asylum applications submitted by Syrians of about 8,500, or a 14 percent increase compared to June 2021, reports.

While Syrians still made up the largest group of asylum seekers in EU+ countries in July, the gap between Afghans continued to narrow. Furthermore, with these and other major nationalities placing much more requests compared to previous months, total requests were at the highest level since the COVID-19 outbreak and approached pre-pandemic levels.”

The same report reveals that citizens of Turkey represent the third largest group of petitions (2,500) of petitions for international protection in EU countries, increasing by almost half compared to the June figures.

As for the Iraqis, the increase in the number of petitions filed by citizens of Iraq who sought international protection in EU countries during July was partly caused by the illegal immigration route through Belarus.

Besides, Iraqis and citizens of Georgia (1300) and Albania (980) submitted a large number of applications for international protection in EU countries during the month of July. However, in contrast to the countries mentioned above, asylum applications by North and West African nationals, including Moroccans (1,500) and Malians (570), registered a significant decrease during July.

EASO previously showed that during the month of June, a total of 46,300 asylum applications were submitted by citizens who sought international protection in EU countries. These numbers represent a significant increase compared to the May 2021 numbers.

Asylum seekers from Syria, Pakistan, Morocco, Iraq and Afghanistan accounted for the largest number of applications submitted during June 2021 in the European Union.

Afghans account for the largest number of applications for international protection in the European Union

Based on figures provided by EASO, during the month of July, citizens of Afghanistan received 6,611 applications for the first time in EU countries, while 647 repeated petitions were registered.

During the same month, a total of 2,438 Afghan applications were negative, 1,124 subsidiary protection decisions, 838 refugee status decisions, 17,632 cases were pending for less than six months, and 24,350 cases were pending for more than six months.

In June, the number of first-time applications by Afghans seeking international protection in EU countries was lower than in July. EASO figures showed that there were 5,426 first-time requests by Afghans in June, while there were 604 repeated petitions.

A total of 1,896 applications filed by Afghans were negative decisions, 1,602 were subsidiary protection decisions, 836 were refugee status decisions, and 15,287 cases were pending for less than six months, while the total was 25,582 cases. On hold for more than six months in June.

While in June there were 5,426 first-time applications, the number was lower in May, when there were 4,648 first-time applications made by Afghans.

As of May, there were 1,784 negative decision applications in May, while there were 1,530 decisions on subsidiary protection, 708 decisions on refugee status, 13,499 cases pending for less than six months, and 26,803 cases pending for more than six months registered during May .

As for the month of April, Afghans received 4,213 applications for the first time, while there were 494 repeat applications. In April, 1,975 applications were negative decisions, 1,368 were subsidiary protection decisions, 655 refugee status decisions, 13,750 cases were pending for less than six months, and 26,747 cases were pending for more than six months, according to EASO figures.

Asylum claim numbers are approaching pre-pandemic levels

For the first time, the number of asylum applications in July recorded the highest increase since the start of COVID-19, exceeding 80% from the last pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.

However, the remaining gap is mainly due to the long-term decline in the number of applications from Latin Americans, such as those from Venezuelans, Colombians, Peruvians, Hondurans, Salvadorans and Nicaraguans (11,700 decrease in the number of applications altogether).

“After orders rose significantly in June (+22 per cent from May), the still significant growth in July (+8 per cent from June) was the second highest increase in the past 12 months. In the past two months, the level of orders has skewed Clearly from the stable situation that has prevailed for about a year, with about 40,000 applications being submitted each month, as revealed by the latest statement published by EASO.

According to EASO figures, unaccompanied minors filed more than 2,200 applications in EU countries, during the month of July, compared to 1,900 applications made in June and 1,500 applications made during May.

This increase resulted from a significant increase in the number of unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan, whose applications increased from 700 in May to 1,000 in June and nearly 1,200 in July. Although requests by unaccompanied minors rose in line with the total, they still accounted for 4 percent of the total in July.

As for the June figures, Afghan nationals submitted more applications while accounting for half of unaccompanied minors, followed by applications of unaccompanied minors by Bangladeshi nationals.

The recognition rate for citizens of Afghanistan is only about half of what it is for Syrians

According to EASO data, at least 35,100 first-instance decisions were issued during July by asylum authorities in EU countries, a slight decrease compared to June’s figures.

A third of the decisions were issued to citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The number of first-degree decisions continued to exceed the number of applications filed.

As for the pending cases, there were approximately 366,300 cases pending in the lower court at the end of July, while this backlog was stable from June.

In June, the recognition rate in EU countries was 39 percent, based on preliminary data. While three-fifths of the affirmative decisions granted refugee status, the rest were granted subsidiary protection.

The latest EASO report shows that recognition rates were significantly higher for the following nationalities that received at least 200 decisions during the month of July;

Syrians (87 percent) Eritreans (81 percent) Palestinians (69 percent) Somalis (58 percent)

In contrast, the recognition rate for Afghan nationals was lower in July compared to the previous six months (54 percent). During July, recognition rates were also lower for nationals of Turkey (46 percent) and Iraq (44 percent).

While the vast majority of positive decisions issued to Turks, Iraqis, Somalis and Eritreans were granted refugee status, this share was only about half in the case of Syrians and 43% in the case of Afghans (the other half providing subsidiary protection).

In contrast, recognition rates were lower for many nationalities, such as Nigerian (11 percent), Pakistani (9 percent), Bangladeshis (5 percent), and Georgians (4 percent).

Stable buildup in first instance

There were approximately 366,300 cases pending in the primary stage by the end of July, which is basically stable compared to the June numbers. Compared to previous years’ numbers, this backlog was primarily lower, according to statistics provided by EASO.

“Cases pending for more than six months accounted for three out of five primary cases at the end of July 2021, which is somewhat lower than in previous months. About 30 percent of all cases still pending at the primary level concern Syrians or Afghans. Each of the other major nationalities accounted for between 3 percent and 5 percent of all trial cases at the end of July, with the exception of the lower shares of Moroccans and Georgians,” the statement said.

EASO announced that of the 10 main nationalities in July, nationals from Eritrea were registered with another 5 percent.

Based on data provided by EASO, in June, approximately 790,500 cases were pending in all cases in EU countries.

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