Saturday, May 29, 2021

West Africans & Moroccans Among Top Nationalities Seeking Asylum in EU

Citizens of West African countries, together with Moroccans, have recently filed a large number of applications for international protection in the European Union countries, leading to a rise in the number of first-time applications filed for asylum in EU countries.

According to a recent report of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), such an increase comes after months of high rates of irregular migration on the Western African route to the Canary Islands, reports.

Nearly 42,000 asylum applications were lodged in the EU countries, in March 2021, according to a recent analysis published by EASO. These figures show that there has been marked a significant increase in the number of first-time applications (17 per cent increase), “offset by a simultaneous fall (- 31 per cent) of repeated applications (in the same country).”

Syrians, Afghans & Iraqis Applying the Most for Asylum in EU Countries, in March 2021

The recent report published by EASO shows that the following nationalities accounted for the majority of first-time applications filed in March 2021:

  • Syria,
  • Afghanistan,
  • Iraq,
  • Somalia.

In March 2019, Syrians lodged 4,902 first-time applications for asylum in European Union countries. The number was lower in 2020, in which year 4,168 first-time applications were filed for the same purpose. However, a significant increase was marked in March 2021, when a total of 6,548 first-time applications were submitted by citizens of Syria.

There were a total of 434 repeated applications by citizens of Syria registered in March 2019. The number marked a decrease in March 2020, when there were registered 197 repeated applications, making a notable increase in March 2021 with 1,244 repeated applications.

The number of adverse decisions marked a year-by-year increase, according to EASO’s figures. In 2019, there were 1,094 adverse decisions for Syrians who applied for international protection in the EU. In March 2020, the number increased to 1,383, while in March 2021, there were 8,986 negative decisions.

Citizens of Afghanistan made 3,899 first-time applications in March 2019. The number declined in March 2020, to 2,311 applications, while in March 2021, Afghans filed 3,960 first-time applications.

Iraqis filed a total of 2,496 first-time applications in March 2019, according to the figures provided by EASO. The same source reveals that first-time applications decreased in  March 2020, to 1,139, while in March 2021, there were registered a total of 1,285 first-time applications.

Besides the nationalities mentioned above, citizens of Morocco and various West African countries were also very interested in seeking international protection in the European Union countries in March 2021.

According to EASO’s report, citizens of Moroccans and citizens of West African countries filed nearly 1,000 more first-time applications in March and February this year.

Such figures indicate that the recently increasing number of applications has been caused by developments on the Western African migration route towards the Canary Islands.

“Reaching 5,500 in March, total applications (first-time and repeated) by nationals of West African countries have grown by 37 per cent from October 2020,” the statement reads.

In March, the top origin countries were Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

The increase in the number of applications by about 30 per cent, by citizens of Morocco (1,000 applications) and Guinea (980), in February led these countries to join the ten major origin countries seeking asylum in EU countries. The ten main origin countries accounted for more than half of all asylum applications filed in the EU countries.

Even though the number of asylum applications filed by citizens of Ukraine and Belarus was lower, it remained close to peak values in previous months.

According to EASO’s figures, about 1,400 applications were filled by self-claimed unaccompanied minors, in European Union countries, in March 2021, marking a significant decrease compared to the end of 2020 figures.

They made three per cent of the total number of applications in March, compared to five per cent in December 2020.  Citizens of Afghan accounted for about two out of every five unaccompanied minors, while citizens of Morocco and West Africans accounted for just seven per cent (one in every 14).

Notable Increase in Number of Decisions Issued by the EU Asylum Authorities

EU asylum authorities have issued a total of 53,300 first instance decisions in March, a quarter more compared to February figures, marking the highest level since July 2020. This translated into a significant increase of decisions on repeated applications in the same country.

“This type of application had been lodged in large numbers during the preceding months, primarily by Syrians. Overall, first instance decisions in March therefore far exceeded applications,” the statement reads.

The increase in decisions led to a slight decrease in pending cases. At the end of March, about 387,200 cases were pending at first instance, about a five per cent decrease compared to February figures.

EASO’s report also revealed that the recognition rate in the EU countries was 27 per cent, in March 2021.  The same source stressed that the recognition rates were the highest for Eritreans (77 per cent) and Yemenis (74 per cent) but were below the EU level for citizens of Morocco (9 per cent) and West Africans, with the notable exception of Malians (34 per cent).

Earlier this year, the figures provided by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) showed the increasing number of applications for international protection placed Ukraine among the top ten nationalities applying for asylum in EU countries for the first time in several years.

Previously the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) revealed that applications filed for international protection in EU countries in 2020 marked a 31 per cent decrease compared to 2019 figures, which is the most significant decrease since 2013.

The decrease resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic situation, which affected all countries worldwide.

The same source revealed that in 2020, 461,300 applications were filed for international protection, compared to 671,200 applications filed in 2019.

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