Asylum applications almost double across EU so far this year, and only a small fraction are from Ukraine

Migrants sit on the deck of a coast guard vessel upon their arrival at Mytilene port, on the northeastern Aegean Sea island of Lesbos, Greece, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Panagiotis Balaskas)
By Kristýna Čtvrtlíková
2 Min Read

Immigration into the European Union has almost doubled this year compared to 2021, with the number of asylum applications across the bloc totaling 339,984 as of June 14 — 92 percent more than in the same period last year, according to figures published by the EU asylum agency, EUAA.

Despite the Ukraine war, which began in February this year and triggered a wave of refugees, only a fraction of the asylum seekers — 22,700 or 6.7 percent — are from Eastern European countries. A special rule enables Ukrainians to be recognized directly and temporarily as refugees from the war without an asylum procedure.

Most asylum seekers arrived from Islamic countries — 42,900 Afghans and 34,900 Syrians sought asylum in the EU in the first five and a half months of this year. According to the EUAA, many swiftly head to Germany. The 22,900 Venezuelans, on the other hand, mostly wanted to go to Spain.

According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), most Syrians have been living in Greece for years since they moved from their first refugee country, Turkey. Many now want to go to Germany due to better living conditions and reapply for asylum.

Germany now recognizes the lack of social security in other EU countries as a reason for asylum, meaning that if an asylum seeker complains about insufficient accommodation and care, Germany will offer them protection status and grant them the right to stay. The traffic light coalition additionally wants to fast-track citizenship eligibility criteria so individuals can apply to become a German citizen after just three years.

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