580,000 asylum seekers across EU marks 11% reduction in 2018

In 2018, Malta received 2,035 applications for protection by first-time asylum seekers

Most first-time asylum seekers seeking protection in the EU came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq
Most first-time asylum seekers seeking protection in the EU came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq

In 2018, 580,000 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in European Union member states. This figure is down by 11% compared with 2017, which saw 654,600 first-time asylum seekers in Europe.

It is also less than half the number recorded in the peak year of 2015 when 1,256,600 first-time asylum applicants were registered in the EU.

The main applicants in 2018 came from Syria (80,900), Afghanistan (41,000) and Iraq (39,600), together accounting for almost 30% of first-time applicants.

Eurostat graphic
Eurostat graphic

The number of first-time asylum seekers applying for protection in Malta increased by 23% since 2017 when Malta received 1,610 applications. In 2018, it received 2,035. The highest number of registered first-time applicants in 2018 relative to the population of each Member State was recorded in Cyprus, followed by Greece, Malta and Luxembourg. Comparatively, the lowest numbers were recorded in Slovakia.

Almost three in 10 applied for asylum in Germany, with 161,900 first-time asylum seekers registered in 2018 in Germany alone, accounting for 28% of all first-time applicants in the EU member states. This was followed by France, Greece, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom.

At the end of 2018, 878,600 applications for international protection in the EU member states were still under consideration by the national authorities. At the end of 2017, this figure was slightly higher (927,000).

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