Cyprus has EU’s highest new asylum seekers ratio

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Cyprus had the highest rate of new asylum seekers compared to its population in February, but new applications have significantly reduced from last year, according to Eurostat data.

In February 2023, Germany (25,335), Spain (12,840), France (10,520), and Italy (9,840) received the highest number of first-time asylum applicants, accounting for over three-quarters (77%) of all first-time applicants in the EU.

In Cyprus, there were 800 new applications in the same month.

In the EU, there were 171 first-time asylum applicants per million people in February.

Compared with the population of each EU Member State, the highest rates of registered first-time applicants were recorded in Cyprus (885 applicants per million people) and Croatia (649).

By contrast, the lowest rate was observed in Hungary (0.2).

Applications increase 41%

In absolute numbers, in February there were 76,505 first-time asylum applicants (non-EU citizens) applied for international protection in the bloc.

Compared with February 2022 (54,370), it represents a 41% increase.

There were also 6,070 subsequent applicants, a 3% decrease from February 2022 (6,280).

Cyprus recorded a significant reduction in new asylum applications, with 800 new applications in February 2023 compared to 1,805 in February 2022.

As in the previous months, Syrians were the largest group of people seeking asylum (9,885 first-time applicants).

They were followed by Afghans (9,310), ahead of Colombians (5,160) and Venezuelans (5,115).

Following Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, there was a significant increase in Ukrainian first-time asylum applicants (from 2,105 in February 2022 to 12,190 in March 2022), but the numbers have been decreasing monthly down to 1,110 in February 2023.

This is also because people fleeing Ukraine benefit from temporary protection.

First-time asylum applicants with Russian citizenship ranked 8th among all citizenships, with 2,385 applications.

Unaccompanied minors

In February, 2,745 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum for the first time in the EU, mostly from Afghanistan (1,025) and Syria (675).

The EU countries which received the highest number of asylum applications from unaccompanied minors were Germany (1,415), Netherlands (240), Italy (205), Spain (195) and Austria (180).

Due to temporary derogations, data on subsequent applicants and unaccompanied minor asylum applicants are unavailable for Cyprus, France and Poland.