Number doesn’t include around 4 million Ukrainians who have also sought shelter in Europe.
Last year the European Union, Switzerland and Norway recorded the largest number of asylum applications in seven years, with countries receiving nearly 1 million requests for international protection.
This comes in addition to around 4 million Ukrainians who have sought shelter in Europe since the Russian invasion started in February 2022, in what the agency calls “dimensions not seen in Europe since the Second World War.”
Added to those Ukrainian refugees, who do not require an individual examination as they benefit from the Temporary Protection Directive, around 966,000 applications for asylum were lodged in 2022, a new analysis released Wednesday by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) shows.
This is about 50 percent more than in 2021 and the highest number since 2016, as the issue continues to be highly sensitive for the EU.
The main countries of origin were Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Venezuela and Colombia, according to the report.
The Malta-based agency attributes the increase in part to the removal of COVID-19-related restrictions, but also longer-term underlying trends such as numerous conflicts in the world and problems with food supplies, forcing people to leave their home countries.
In 2016, 1.2 million people applied for asylum in the same countries amid a major migration crisis driven by conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa.
Together with the huge number of people fleeing Ukraine from the Russian onslaught, European countries have received close to 5 million total people seeking some form of international protection. This has placed its national reception systems under “considerable pressure,” the analysis concludes.