Asylum decisions in the EU – EU Member States granted protection to more than half a million asylum seekers in 2017 – Almost one-third of the beneficiaries were Syrians

The 28 Member States of the European Union (EU) granted protection status to 538 000 asylum seekers in 2017, down by almost 25% from 2016. In addition to these, the EU Member States received nearly 24 000 resettled refugees.

The largest group of beneficiaries of protection status in the EU in 2017 remained citizens of Syria (175 800 persons, or 33% of the total number of persons granted protection status in the EU Member States), followed by citizens of Afghanistan (100 700 or 19%) and those of Iraq (64 300 or 12%).

The number of decisions granting protection status to Syrian citizens has dropped since 2016 (when they accounted for a share of 57% of all grants) however, they remained the largest group granted protection status in eighteen Member States in 2017. Of the 175 800 Syrian citizens granted protection status in the EU, more than 70% received protection status in Germany (124 800).

These data on the results of asylum decisions in the EU are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.

More than 60% of positive decisions granted in one single Member State: Germany

In 2017, the highest number of persons granted protection status was registered in Germany (325 400), ahead of France (40 600), Italy (35 100), Austria (34 000) and Sweden (31 200).

Out of all the persons who were granted protection status in 2017 in the EU, 271 600 persons were granted refugee status (50% of all positive decisions), 189 000 were given subsidiary protection (35%) and 77 500 authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons (14%). It should be noted that, while both refugee and subsidiary protection status are defined by EU law, humanitarian status is granted only on the basis of national legislation.

Almost half of asylum decisions at the first instance made in the EU resulted in protection status

In 2017 more than 970 000 first instance decisions on asylum applications were made in the EU Member States and further 266 000 final decisions following an appeal. Decisions made at the first instance resulted in almost 443 000 persons being granted protection status, while a further 95 000 received protection status on appeal.

Recognition rates differs greatly between citizenships

The rate of recognition, i.e. the share of positive decisions in the total number of decisions, was 46% for first instance decisions in the EU. For final decisions on appeal, the recognition rate was 36%.

The outcomes of decisions on asylum applications, and therefore the recognition rate, vary between countries of citizenship of asylum applicants. Among the twenty main citizenships of asylum applicants on which decisions were taken at first instance in 2017, recognition rates in the EU ranged from around 5% for citizens of Albania to 94% for Syria and 92% for Eritrea.