In 2018, 580 800 first-time asylum seekers applied for
international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), down by 11% compared with 2017 (654 600) and
less than half of the number recorded in the peak year 2015 when 1 256 600 first-time
asylum applicants were registered. The number of asylum applicants in 2018 is comparable
to the level recorded in 2014, before the peaks of 2015 and 2016.
(80 900 first-time applicants), Afghan
(41 000) and Iraqi (39 600) continued
to be the main citizenships of people seeking international protection in the
EU Member States in 2018, together accounting for almost 30% of all first-time
These data on asylum applicants in the EU are issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. They are complemented with an article and an infographic available on the Eurostat website.
Almost 3 in 10 applied for asylum in Germany
With 161 900 first-time applicants registered in 2018, Germany accounted for 28% of all first-time
applicants in the EU Member States. It was followed by France (110 500, or 19%), Greece
(65 000, or 11%), Spain (52 700, or
9%), Italy (49 200, or 8%) and the United Kingdom (37 300, or 6%). Among
Member States with more than 5 000 first-time asylum seekers in 2018, the number
of first time applicants, rose most compared with the previous year in Cyprus (+70%, or 3 100 more first-time
asylum seekers in 2018 than in 2017) and Spain
(+60%, or 19 700 more), ahead of Belgium
(+29%, or 4 100 more), the Netherlands
(+27%, or 4 400 more), France (+20%,
or 18 500 more) and Greece (+14%, or
8 000 more). In contrast, the largest relative decreases were recorded in Italy (-61%, or 77 400 fewer), Austria (-49%, or 11 100 fewer), Sweden (-19%, or 4 100 fewer) and Germany (-18%, or 36 400 fewer).
Afghan and Iraqi – main citizenships of asylum seekers
(14% of the total number of first-time applicants) was the main citizenship of
asylum seekers in the EU Member States in 2018, a position it has held each
year since 2013.Of the 80 900 Syrians who applied for asylum for the
first-time in theEUin 2018, more than half were
registered in Germany (44 200, or
55%). Syrian was the main
citizenship of asylum seekers in eight EU Member States.
41 000 first-time applicants (or 7% of the EU total) in 2018, Afghan was the second main citizenship
of asylum seekers in the EU Member States. Almost 29% of Afghans applied in Greece
(11 800). Afghan was the main
citizenship of asylum seekers in five EU Member States.
Iraqi (7% of the total number of first-time applicants) was the third main citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU Member States in 2018. Of the 39 600 Iraqis seeking asylum protection for the first-time in the EU in 2018, more than 41% applied in Germany (16 300). Iraqi was the main citizenship of asylum seekers in two EU Member States.
Highest number of first-time applicants
relative to the population in Cyprus, lowest in Slovakia
The highest number of registered first-time applicants in
2018 relative to the population of each Member State was recorded in Cyprus (8 805 first-time applicants per
million population), ahead of Greece (6
051), Malta (4 276) and Luxembourg (3 694). In contrast, the
lowest numbers were recorded in Slovakia
(28 applicants per million population), Poland
(63), Hungary (65), Estonia (68) and Latvia (91). In 2018, in the EU as a whole, there were
1 133 first-time asylum applicants per million population.
than 900 000 asylum applications pending at the end of 2018
Pending applications for international protection are
applications that have been made at any time and are still under consideration
by the national authorities at the end of the reference period. In other words,
they refer to the “stock” of applications for which decisions are still
pending. This statistic is intended to measure the workload of the national
At the end of 2018, 878 600 applications for international protection in the EU Member States were still under consideration by the national authorities (excluding Finland, as data not available). At the end of 2017, this figure was slightly higher (927 000). Germany had the largest share of applications pending in the EU at the end of 2018 (384 800, or 44% of the EU total), ahead of Italy (103 000, or 12%), Spain (78 700, or 9%) and Greece (76 300, or 9%).
Pending applications: data not available for Finland for October-December 2018
The European Union (EU) includes Belgium, Bulgaria,
Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia,
Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands,
Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the
Methods and definitions
on asylum are provided to Eurostat by the Ministries of Interior, Justice or
immigration agencies of the Member States according to the provisions of
Article 4 of the Regulation (EC) 862/2007 of 11 July 2007 on Community statistics
on migration and international protection. In addition, all Member States
provide data on first-time asylum applicants on a voluntary basis.
The EU total is calculated as an aggregation of
Member States data. Member State data refer to the number of persons applying
for asylum for the first-time in that Member State. Persons
may however apply for international protection in more than one Member
State in a given reference year. Consequently, the EU total may include such
international protection’ means an application for international
protection as defined in the Art. 2(h) of Directive 2011/95/EU, i.e. including
requests for refugee status or for subsidiary protection status, irrespective
of whether the application was lodged on arrival at the border, or from inside
the country, and irrespective of whether the person entered the territory
legally (e.g. as a tourist) or illegally.
applicant/seeker’ means a person having submitted an application for
international protection or having been included in such application as a
family member, for the first-time. Applications submitted by persons who are
subsequently found to be a subject of a Dublin procedure are included in the
statistics on first-time asylum applicants if such persons are also a subject
of first asylum application. A person can be recorded as first-time applicant
only if he or she had never applied for international protection in the
reporting country in the past, irrespective of the fact that he or she is found
to have applied in another Member State of the European Union.
news release refers to the number of ‘First-time asylum applicants’. The
indicator ‘First-time asylum applicants’ excludes repeat applicants i.e.
persons applying for asylum more than once in one country and therefore more
accurately presents the number of persons applying for international protection
in the EU Member States. The use of this indicator is now possible as all
Member States are able to provide it to Eurostat.
person being the subject of a ‘pending
application’ means a person who is the subject of an application for
international protection under consideration by the responsible national
authority at the end of the reference period. It includes the number of persons
with pending applications at all instances of the administrative and/or judicial
procedure (see Art 4.1(b) of the Regulation).
Issued by: Eurostat Press Office
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