The 28 Member States of the European Union (EU) granted protection status to nearly 333 400 asylum seekers in 2018, down by almost 40% from 2017 (533 000). In addition to these, the EU Member States received over 24 800 resettled refugees.
The largest group of beneficiaries of protection status in the EU in 2018 remained citizens of Syria (96 100 persons, or 29% of the total number of persons granted protection status in the EU Member States), followed by citizens of Afghanistan (53 500 or 16%) and those of Iraq (24 600 or 7%), as compared with 2017 when 172 900 or 32% of asylum seekers granted protection were Syrians, 99 800 or 19% were Afghanis and 63 800 or 12% were Iraqis.
Syrians were the largest group granted protection status in sixteen Member States in 2018. Of the 96 100 Syrians granted protection status in the EU, almost 70% were recorded in Germany (67 000).
These data on the results of asylum decisions in the EU are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
More than 40% of all positive decisions in the EU granted in Germany
In 2018, the highest number of persons granted protection status was registered in Germany (139 600), ahead of Italy (47 900) and France (41 400).
Out of all the persons who were granted protection status in 2018 in the EU, 163 800 persons were granted refugee status (49% of all positive decisions), 100 300 were given subsidiary protection (30%) and 69 300 authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons (21%). It should be noted that, while both refugee and subsidiary protection status are defined by EU law, humanitarian status is granted on the basis of national legislation.
Above one third of asylum decisions at the first instance made in the EU resulted in protection status
In 2018, almost 582 000 first instance decisions on asylum applications were made in the EU Member States and a further 309 000 final decisions following an appeal. Decisions made at the first instance resulted in 217 400 persons being granted protection status, while a further 116 000 received protection status on appeal.
Recognition rates differ greatly between citizenships
The recognition rate, i.e. the share of positive decisions among the total number of decisions, was 37% for first instance decisions in the EU. For final decisions on appeal, the recognition rate was 38%.
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 2018, recognition rates in the EU ranged from around 5% for citizens of Georgia to 88% for Syrians and 83% for Eritreans.
The European Union (EU) includes Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Methods and definitions
Data on asylum decisions presented in this news release are provided to Eurostat by Ministries of the Interior or Justice, or immigration agencies, of the Member States. These data are supplied by Member States according to the provisions of Article 4 of the Regulation (EC) 862/2007 of 11 July 2007 on Community statistics on migration and international protection.
A decision on an asylum application means a decision on an application for international protection as defined in Art.2(h) of Council Directive 2011/95/EC, irrespective of whether the application was lodged on arrival at border, or from inside the country, and irrespective of whether the person entered the territory legally (e.g. as a tourist) or illegally.
First instance decision means a decision made in response to an asylum application at the first instance level of the asylum procedure.
Final decision on appeal means a decision granted at the final instance of administrative/judicial asylum procedure and which results from the appeal lodged by the asylum seeker rejected in the preceding stage of the procedure. As the asylum procedures and the numbers/levels of decision making bodies differ between Member States, the true final instance may be, according to the national legislation and administrative procedures, a decision of the highest national court. However, the applied methodology defines that ‘final decisions’ should refer to what is effectively a ‘final decision’ in the vast majority of all cases: i.e. that all normal routes of appeal have been exhausted.
Protection status includes three different categories of protection:
Person granted refugee status means a person covered by a decision granting refugee status, taken by administrative or judicial bodies during the reference period. Refugee status means status as defined in Art.2 (e) of Directive 2011/95/EC within the meaning of Art.1 of the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951, as amended by the New York Protocol of 31 January 1967. According to the Art.2(d) of that Directive refugee means a third country national who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country, or a stateless person, who, being outside of the country of former habitual residence for the same reasons as mentioned above, is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to it.
Person granted subsidiary protection status means a person covered by a decision granting subsidiary protection status, taken by administrative or judicial bodies during the reference period. Subsidiary protection status means status as defined in Art.2 (g) of Directive 2011/95/EC. According to the Art.2(f) of that Directive person eligible for subsidiary protection means a third country national or a stateless person who does not qualify as a refugee but in respect of whom substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the person concerned, if returned to his or her country of citizenship, or in the case of a stateless person, to his or her country of former habitual residence, would face a real risk of suffering serious harm and is unable, or, owing to such risk, unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country.
Person granted authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons means a person covered by a decision granting authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons under national law concerning international protection, taken by administrative or judicial bodies during the reference period. It includes persons who are not eligible for international protection as currently defined in the first stage legal instruments, but are nonetheless protected against removal under the obligations that are imposed on all Member States by international refugee or human rights instruments or on the basis of principles flowing from such instruments. Examples of such categories include persons who are not removable on ill health grounds and unaccompanied minors.
In addition, resettled refugees means persons who have been granted an authorisation to reside in a Member State within the framework of a national or Community resettlement scheme. Resettlement means the transfer of third-country nationals or stateless persons, on a request from UNHCR, based on their need for international protection and a durable solution, to a Member State where they are permitted to reside with a secure legal status. Data relate to resettled persons who have actually arrived into the territory of the Member State. Resettled refugees are not included in the data on decisions on asylum applications.
A stateless person is someone who is not recognized as a citizen of any state.