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First-time asylum seekers jump 600% in Cyprus

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Cyprus saw an annual jump of 636% in first-time asylum seekers in February compared to an average increase of 85% in the EU, according to Eurostat data.

In Cyprus, 1805 new asylum applications were registered in February, compared to 245 new applications in February 2021 and 1385 (+30.3%) in January.

In February, first-time asylum applications increased by 85% compared to February 2021 and 3% compared to January.

EU member states recorded 54,565 first-time asylum applications, from 29,470 in February 2021 and 52,810 last January.

The increase from January to February is largely attributed to the increase in Ukrainian first-time applicants (from 355 in January to 2370 in February; +568%).

Also, there were 6,150 subsequent applicants (people who reapplied for asylum after a decision had been taken on a previous application).

This was down 46% compared with February 2021 and -1% from January.

Due to temporary derogations in effect until 2023, there is no available data on Cyprus regarding subsequent applicants (Denmark and Sweden) or unaccompanied minor asylum applicants (France and Poland).

In February, Afghans were the largest group of persons seeking asylum (7075 first-time applicants) in the EU.

They were followed by Syrians (6775), Venezuelans (4205), Colombians (3110) and Ukrainians (2370).

The first largest nationalities of new asylum seekers in Cyprus were from the Democratic Republic of Congo/ Congo-Kinshasa (405), Nigeria (295), Pakistan (210), Syria (175) and Bangladesh (155).

Germany accounted for 27% of all first-time applicants in the EU in February (14,930 persons), followed by Spain (9295, 17%), France (9085, 17%), and Italy (5160, 9%) and Austria (3105, 6%).

These five countries accounted for 76% of all first-time applicants in the EU.

In February, 2,215 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum for the first time, up by 74% compared with February 2021 (1275) and +1% from January 2022 (2180).

Most unaccompanied minors who lodged asylum applications in February came from Afghanistan (1015), Syria (335) and Somalia (125).

Germany (480), Austria (455) and Belgium (235) were the three states that received the highest numbers of asylum applications from unaccompanied minors.