UNHCR Asylum Trends 2014 – Mid-year report -

UNHCR Asylum Trends 2014 – Mid-year report

• The number of people seeking refugee status in industrialized countries continued to climb in the first half of 2014, driven by the wars in Syria, and Iraq as well as conflict and instability in Afghanistan, Eritrea and elsewhere.
• 330,700 people requested asylum in these countries in this period, a 24% rise from last year.
• Based on historical norms of higher numbers of asylum-seekers in the second half of each year, 2014 could produce as many as 700,000 claims – the highest total for industrialized countries in 20 years and a level not seen since the 1990s conflict in former Yugoslavia.
• More than two thirds of these were in just six countries: Germany, USA, France, Sweden, Turkey and Italy.
• Syria was the main country of origin of people seeking asylum with a more than two-fold increase (48,400 claims). Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of people have become newly displaced this year, produced 21,300 asylum applications, followed by Afghanistan (19,300) and Eritrea (18,900).

Trends in Europe and the EU:
• 38 countries in Europe: recorded 264,000 asylum applications, an increase of 24% compared to the same period of 2013 (212,200) but 2% fewer than during the 2nd semester of 2013 (270,600).
• Europe accounted for 80% of all claims lodged in the 44 industrialized countries
• The 28 EUMembers registered 216,300 asylum claims, a 23% increase compared to thesame period of 2013 (176,200).
• Top Five countries in the EU receiving asylum applications: Germany (65,700), France (29,000), Sweden (28,500), Italy (24,500), and United Kingdom (14,300)
• Top nationalities of asylum applicants in the EU: Syria (39,220), Eritrea (13,894), Afghanistan (13,565), Serbia (and Kosovo: S/RES/1244 (1999)) – 11,794, and Pakistan (9,637).

Regions in Europe:
• The largest relative increase in midyear asylum levels was reported by countries in Southern Europe. These countries received 60,800 asylum requests during the first half of 2014, a 73%increase compared to the first six months of 2013 (35,200 claims). This growth was mostly due to the number of individuals who requested international protection in Italy and Turkey.
• Central Europe was the only European region to experience a fall in asylum applications (47% compared with the same period in 2013), in particular Hungary and Poland: in Poland the number dropped to 3,300 (65% lower) and in Hungary to 4,800 (58 % lower).
• The Nordic regionremained a major destination for asylum-seekers in Europe, with 38,900 new asylum applications, 36% more than a year earlier though a 19% less than in the second half of 2013 (47,800).

Top Receiving Countries in Europe:
• Germany,ranked 1st among the 44 industrialized countries,registered65,700 new asylum applications during the first half of 2014, compared to 43,300recorded during the same period of 2013 (+52%).
• France ranked 3rdamong the 44 industrialized countries (2ndin the EU), with 29,000 new asylum applications - a decrease of 4 % compared to the same period of 2013 (30,300). This decrease was partly attributable to a drop in asylum applications from Serbia (and Kosovo:S/RES/1244 (1999)), Russia and Albania. The number of Syrian applications more than doubled (from 600 to 1,400).
• Sweden ranked 4th among the 44 industrialized countries (3rd in the EU), with 28,500new asylum applications,an increase of 51%compared to thefirst semesters of 2013, but 19% less than the second half of 2013. Consistentlyhigh number of Syrian asylum applicationswere made during this period (11,600). Eritreans lodged 3,400 asylum applications during the reportingperiod, three times more thanduring the corresponding period a yearearlier (1,200).
• Turkey was the fifth largest recipient of applications among the 44 industrializedcountries, with 27,700new asylumrequests registered during the first halfof 2014, a 59 % increasecompared to the first half of 2013 (17,400 claims) and the highest half-year valueon record. Iraqi asylum-seekers primarilyaccounted for this increase, with theirnumber almost doubling from 8,000 inthe first half of 2013 to 15,700 a year later.
• Italy ranked 4th in the EU, with new asylum applications during the first half of 2014 continuing to grow to 24,500 claims, almost identical to the total number of applications lodged during the entire previous year (25,700).
• Italy was followed by the United Kingdom(14,300 claims), the Netherlands (12,300), Switzerland (9,500), and Austria (8,400).
• The Netherlands: authorities reported doubling of new asylum claims during the first half of the year, largely accounted for by Eritrean and Syrian asylum-seekers.

More information on top countries of origin:
• Syria: remained the main country of origin of asylum-seekers in industrialized countries and in the EU (a 140% increase in the EU compared with the same period last year). These levels continued to be highest in Germany (11,800 claims) and Sweden (11,600), where figures more than doubled compared to the first half of 2013. Other important destinationswere the Netherlands (3,700), Switzerland (2,200), Austria (2,200), and Bulgaria (2,100).
• Iraq was the second largest source of asylum-seekers among the 44 industrialized countries (21,300) during the first half of 2014, 56%higher than the sameperiod of 2013 (13,600) but 10% lower than during the second half 2013(23,700). Turkey remained the main destination country for Iraqi asylum- seekers.
• Afghanistan was the third largest country of origin of asylum-seekers in industrialized countries in the first half of 2014 (19,300).During the first two quarters of 2014 (+15% same period 2013) numbers werevirtually identical to the numbersduring the second half of 2013 (19,200claims). Turkey remained the prime destination (4,300). Germany and Hungary were other important destination countries, with 4,100 and 2,000 new asylum applications, respectively.
• The number of Eritrean asylum-seekers reached unprecedented levels among the group of 44 industrialized countries and a 320% increase in the EU compared to asylum applications in the same period in 2013. Roughly three quarters of all Eritrean claims were submitted in just four countries: Sweden (4,200), Germany (3,800), the Netherlands (3,500), and Switzerland (2,200).

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