Libyans top first-time asylum claims in Malta in 2016

Malta recorded 1,735 first-time asylum applicants in 2016, whereas Germany recorded 722,300, giving it the highest number of first-time applicants among EU member states

Malta recorded 1,735 first-time asylum applicants in 2016, marking a 2% increase over the figures from the previous year, according to Eurostat data.

The total included 655 asylum seekers from Libya, 285 from Syria, and 255 from Eritrea.

However, Malta’s share of the total sum of asylum applicants in EU member states is 0.1%, as is the case the Czech Republic, Portugal, and Slovenia. Countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia recorded 0% of the total EU shares of first-time asylum applicants.

Contrastingly, neighbouring Italy recorded 10.1% of the total EU shares - the second highest figure among all member states - with 121,185 first-time asylum applicants last year. This marked a 46% increase over 2015. Italy was followed by France, which recorded 76,00 (6%) first of first-time applicants, and Greece, which recorded 49,900 (4%) first-time applicants.

However, it was Germany which recorded the highest number of first-time applicants, with 722,300, making up 60% of all first-time applicants in EU member states. The figure is a 63% increase over first-time asylum applicants in 2015.

In total, 1,204,300 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection across the EU, indicating a slight decrease when compared with 2015, when the number stood at 1,257,000.

Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU member states in 2016, making up slightly more than half of all first-time applicants. Syrians accounted for 334,800 of first-time applicants, while Afghans accounted for 183,000 and Iraqis for 127,000.