In 2022, EU+ countries received some 966,000 applications, including 34, 000 from Bangladeshis, for international protection, up more than 50 percent from 2021, and the most since 2016, according to the new analysis of the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA).
The largest applicant groups were Syrians, Afghans and Turks, but applications were also high for a wide range of other nationalities, while the caseload of applications pending decision hit its highest level since 2017.
The EUAA analysis represents a significant increase in 2021, by around half, and is owed in part to the removal of Covid-related restrictions and longer-term underlying trends such as conflicts and food insecurity in many regions of origin, resulting in strong push factors. Furthermore, secondary movements within the EU and significant numbers of applications by nationals from visa-free countries who arrived legally contributed as well.
It comes in addition to around 4 million people fleeing Ukraine who benefit from temporary protection.
In activating the Temporary Protection Directive, the decision to offer a dedicated channel that does not require an individual examination of protection needs prevented the collapse of Europe's asylum systems. However, the combined five million people seeking protection in Europe have placed its national reception systems under considerable pressure.
Syrians (132,000) and Afghans (129,000) remained by far the largest applicant groups, and nationals of both countries lodged substantially more applications than in 2021, in fact, the most since 2016.
The EUAA recently issued Country Guidance on Syria and Afghanistan, with conclusions largely substantiating the protection needs of Syrian nationals, and finding inter alia that restrictions placed on Afghan women by the Taliban amount to persecution.
With more than doubling numbers, Turkish applicants (55,000) became the third largest group. They were followed by Venezuelans (51,000) and Colombians (43, 000), who both lodged about three times as many applications as in 2021.
Turks, Venezuelans, Colombians, Bangladeshis (34,000), and Georgians (29,000) all applied the most on record.
At lower levels, record applications were also lodged by citizens of India (26,000), Morocco (22,000), Tunisia (21,000), Egypt (15, 000), Moldova (8,300), and several others.
In 2022, EU+ asylum authorities issued some 632,000 decisions at first instance, up by a fifth from 2021.
However, applications increased by far more – in fact outnumbering them by about 333,000 – resulting in the largest gap since 2015. It largely translated into an increase in pending cases at first instance.
At the end of the year, some 636, 000 cases were awaiting a decision at first instance, a 44 percent increase compared to 2021.
The EU+ recognition rate was 40 percent in 2022, up by five percentage points from 2021 and the most in five years. Of the two-in-five applicants receiving a positive decision at first instance, around 147 000 were granted refugee status and 106 000 received subsidiary protection.
Recognition rates were especially high for Syrians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Eritreans, Yemenis, and Malians.
In contrast, recognition rates were especially low for citizens of India, North Macedonia, Moldova, Vietnam, Tunisia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Nepal among others.
Equipped with a strengthened mandate to support the implementation of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS), in 2022 the Agency substantially increased its technical and operational support.
The number of countries benefiting from the EUAA Operational Support has quadrupled to 13 EU member states since just 2019, with over 1,500 deployed personnel. The agency is also providing support in a third country, Moldova.
Source: United News of Bangladesh