The European Asylum Support Office, EASO, has confirmed an increase in the asylum applications during 2019 when compared to the previous year. The EASO said this was the first time since 2015 that asylum applications increased despite reduced irregular migration towards the European Union.
In a press statement, it was explained that the increase was largely driven by applications from countries with visa-free access to Schengen rather than irregular migration.
More than 714 000 applications were lodged in the EU+ in 2019, up by 13 % from 2018, when fewer than 635 000 were registered.
Statistics show that the top three countries of origin of applicants were Syria, Afghanistan and Venezuela. Afghans sought asylum in far larger numbers than a year earlier, as did Venezuelans, who claimed more than twice as many applications- approximately 22,000 applications in 2018.
EASO’s Executive Director, Nina Gregori, stated that “these figures highlight that while we remain well below the situation of a few years ago, we need to continue to be vigilant and strengthen our asylum practices. A sustainable, fair and crisis-proof asylum system in the European Union is needed.”
The European Asylum Support Office said that applications for international protection have increased but detections of illegal entry at the external border have decreased.