October has seen the highest increase in asylum applications lodged at the EU+ countries this year. The authorities in the European Union Member States plus Norway and Switzerland received 70,370 applications in October only, totaling a number of 586,700 asylum applications within 10 months, from January to the end of October.
This means that 11% more applications have been lodged, compared to the same period last year, thus marking a new peak, as the number hasn’t been this high since the end of 2016.
Afghans, Syrians, and Venezuelans continued to lodge the most applications, accounting for a quarter of all applications in the EU+, while at the same time applicants coming from visa-free countries also filed a quarter of the total number of applications.
Afghani, Syrians, and Venezuelans Remain Top Three National Groups of Asylum Seekers
Once again, this year, asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Syria, and Venezuela were the top three largest national groups seeking international protection at one of the EU+ countries. Together, they accounted for one in four of all applications.
While Afghan and Syrian nationals lodged slightly fewer than 7,200 applications each, for Afghans this was a record since the end of 2016, whereas for Syrians in the past year and a half.
“Applications lodged by Venezuelans reached a peak for the second time this year (4 304 applications in October, on par with March). Since January 2019, Venezuelans (+ 96%) and Afghans (+ 26%) lodged far more applications than in the same period last year, whereas Syrians slightly fewer (- 9%),” the press release reads.
Data provided by the European Asylum Support Office shows that in October nationals of Colombia, Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Albania, Iran, and Nigeria lodged a significant number of applications, with Colombians filing most applications since – at least – 2014. In fact, Colombians lodged almost three times as many applications as they did in the same period last year.
At the same time, Pakistanis lodged more applications for the past three years and Turks and Albanians for the last year.
In October 2019, nationals from visa-exempt third countries still accounted for a quarter of all applications lodged in the EU+ (17,640). 63% of these applicants continued to be nationals of countries located in Latin America.
10% of Applications Were Repeated
The number of repeated applications remains high, in particular among asylum seekers coming from one of the Western Balkan countries.
Consistent with previous months, repeated applications continued to account for approximately a tenth of all applications lodged in the EU+ in October 2019.
“The share of repeated applicants was particularly high among nationals of nearly all Western Balkans countries: Bosnia (two in five applications in the EU+ were repeated), Serbia (one in three), North Macedonia and Kosovo (one in four),” EASO reports.
Previously, schengenvisainfo.com reported that the share of repeated applications was high among nationals of Western Balkans countries in the three first quarters of the year, with 35% of Serbia applicants, 33% of Kosovo applicants and 24% of North Macedonia applicants filing at least a second asylum application after the previous ones were rejected.