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Asylum in the EU Member States: Number of first time asylum seekers down to fewer than 290 000 in the first quarter of 2016

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Eurostat news release 120/2016

More than 1 out of 3 continued to come from Syria

During the first quarter of 2016 (from January to March 2016), 287 100 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU), down by 33% compared with the fourth quarter of 2015 (when 426 000 first time applicants were registered) .

With over 102 000 first time applicants between January and March 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU Member States, ahead of Iraqis and Afghans (both with around 35 000 first time applicants). They represent the three main citizenships of first time asylum applicants in the EU Member States over the first quarter 2016, accounting for 60% of all first time applicants.

Six in ten applied for asylum in Germany

During the first quarter 2016, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with almost 175 000 first time applicants, or 61% of total first time applicants in the EU Member States), followed by Italy (22 300, or 8%), France (18 000, or 6%), Austria (13 900, or 5%) and the United Kingdom (10 100, or 4%). Among those Member States with high numbers of asylum seekers, numbers of first time applicants in the first quarter 2016 compared with the previous quarter fell notably in the Nordic Member States – Sweden (-91%), Finland (-85%) and Denmark (-74%) – as well as in the Netherlands (-72%), Belgium (-70%), Luxembourg (-59%) and Austria (-55%).

Highest number of first time applicants relative to the population in Germany and Austria

Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rate of registered first time applicants during the first quarter 2016 was recorded in Germany (2 155 first time applicants per million inhabitants) and Austria (1 619), ahead of Malta (904), Luxembourg (888), Sweden (790), Cyprus (749) and Hungary (693). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (3 applicants per million inhabitants), Estonia (4), Romania (11), Lithuania (13), Portugal (14) and Latvia (16). In the first quarter 2016, there were in total 565 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.