A total of 923,991 asylum applications were registered in the EU’s 27 member states in 2022, representing a 46.5 increase over 2021, according to European Commission data.
Once again, Germany was the top destination, with the country seeing 226,467 applications. France came in second with 154,597 applications, followed by Spain (116,952) and Austria (108,490).
However, these asylum applications do not include the nearly 5 million Ukrainian refugees who fled into Europe over the course of the year. Germany, for instance, saw anywhere between 1.2 and 1.5 million migrants arrive in the country last year, which has overwhelmed reception centers and led to growing anti-immigration sentiment in the country.
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In Germany, the number of asylum applications increased by more than 30 percent, with the country seeing the largest amount of migrants since the previous record in 2016. However, it was Austria that saw the biggest spike, with asylum applications tripling compared to 2021 despite a conservative government vowing to clamp down on immigration.
The huge increase in asylum applications in Austria sparked outrage from the government, which has long accused the EU of failing to provide proper border protection.
“Austria is currently heavily burdened by illegal migration. The contribution that we are making in Europe is disproportionately high,” said Chancellor Karl Nehammer last year. “The EU’s migration policy has failed. There is still no strong protection of the European Union’s external borders, and the reality of the problem is being ignored.”
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At the other end of the spectrum were Slovakia and Hungary, which had only 544 and 46 asylum applications, respectively, according to Hungarian news outlet Magyar Hírlap.
The EU’s data shows that the largest number of asylum seekers are Syrian citizens; however, many are known to only claim they are from the country to improve their chances of being allowed to stay in Europe. The next countries on the list were Afghanistan, Turkey, Venezuela, and Colombia. The number of applications submitted by Turkish citizens doubled, and the number of Venezuelan and Colombian citizens tripled compared to 2021.
The report also highlights how Libya played a central role in the increased migration numbers, with 77,000 people recorded to have come from the Libyan coast, the most since 2017.