London, Europe Brief News – Nearly a million people applied for asylum in European countries last year, the highest tally since 2016.
According to the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA), 966,000 applications were submitted in 2022, which is 50% more applications in comparison with 2021.
The numbers include applications for countries in the European Union, as well as Norway and Switzerland that are not members of the EU.
Ukrainian refugees in EU states are protected under a separate mechanism called the Temporary Protection Directive and are largely not part of the asylum applications. The directive aims to avoid slowing down the asylum processes for old and new applicants.
Nearly 1,251,815 people applied for asylum in 2016, when the Syrian conflict created the largest wave of refugees to Europe after World War II.
Now, the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 accounts for the largest movement of refugees since World War II, with more than 7 million people having fled the country. Millions more remain internally displaced.
With more than 130,000 applications, Syrians were the largest group to have applied for asylum.
They were closely followed by Afghans fleeing insecurity in their own country following the Taliban’s 2021 takeover, with 129,000 requests.
Turks, with 55,000 requests, were the third-largest group to have applied for protection owing to soaring inflation and a crisis of democracy in the country, according to the EU agency for asylum.
Venezuelans, Colombians, Bangladeshis and Georgians applied for asylum in record numbers last year, as did Moroccans, Tunisians and Egyptians. Some 4% of asylum-seekers claimed to be unaccompanied minors.