MeterThe number of immigrants in the previous year is Asylum seeker The figures in the European Union have dropped significantly-by one-third, reaching the lowest level since 2013. These two numbers are related to each other, although they are by no means the same. Although Frontex, the European Union’s border protection agency, reported 124,000 illegal border crossings, the European Asylum Office (EASO) recorded 485,000 asylum applications in its new annual report.
On the one hand, it shows the number of unreported cases of people who were not registered at the external border. On the other hand, immigrants must not only submit an application in the country of arrival in accordance with EU asylum laws, but also in the country of their choice. For most people, it was Germany and France again last year. Even under corona conditions, this trend of secondary migration continues.
In fact, two-thirds of applications came from these two countries and Spain. On the other hand, Spain does not belong to the top group because it is so close to North Africa. In fact, as in 2019, most asylum seekers entered the country legally by air from Venezuela and Colombia. Usually, they receive humanitarian protection.
Very different recognition rate
The main arrival countries, Greece and Italy, are already far behind the top three in asylum statistics; their share is only 8%, slightly less than 6%. This explains why Berlin and Paris rejected Italy’s request to take over immigration. Although the number of people arriving in Lampedusa has increased in recent weeks, the statistics speak for themselves: Italy allows most asylum-seekers to move north.
As the information about the so-called secondary migration shows, the impact has even increased due to the pandemic. According to EU asylum law, member states can transfer applicants who enter the country through another country-but only for the first six months after entry. Last year, the number of such repatriation applications fell as sharply as the number of asylum applications in general. However, the actual number of repatriations fell further, only half of the previous year. Responsible countries often advocate health restrictions. Especially Germany left more applicants.
As in the previous year, most applicants came from Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Colombia and Iraq. More than half of Syrians and Iraqis emigrated to Germany, as did the largest Turks, Nigerians and Somalis. It is worth noting that the recognition rate varies greatly across Europe. Although only 1% of Afghans are protected in Bulgaria, in Switzerland (participating in the Schengen area) this percentage is 98%. Turks and Venezuelans have similar fluctuations in their values. This is an incentive for applicants to choose the target country. However, the asylum authorities have rightly pointed out that despite the high recognition rate in Switzerland, the number of applicants is relatively small.
The overall protection rate trend remains unchanged. Only 31% of applicants obtained protection status under EU law, that is, recognized as refugees or auxiliary protection. Another 11% of people received humanitarian protection in accordance with national regulations. On the contrary, this means: 58% of applicants cannot claim any persecution, and usually travel across the Mediterranean for economic reasons. Two thirds of applicants are men, one third are women, and 10% are unaccompanied minors.
The EU asylum authority registered more than 40% of new immigrants in 2020; it now supports all five arriving countries in the Mediterranean. As a result of the pandemic, employees conducted 18,000 interviews, increasingly via video chat. Authority will be strengthened in the future. On Tuesday, the Council of Member States and the European Parliament agreed to extend the term of the agency, which has been in operation for ten years. It will have a reserve of 500 state officials who can come quickly to assist if necessary. So far, this is only possible temporarily.
In addition, the authorities will pay close attention to the member states and report on how they implement the EU asylum regulations. For example, returning to Greece failed because the country did not meet the minimum standards. However, the five countries of arrival known as “Club Med” impose an important restriction: This control mechanism will only take effect after the entire asylum system is reformed.