The number of first time asylum seekers applying for international protection in European Union member states increased by 58% in September 2021, compared with September 2020, according to monthly asylum data recently published by Eurostat.
In September there were 60,800 first time asylum applications compared with 38,600 in September 2020. Compared with August 2021, there was an increase of about 21% (when 50,200 applications were received).
In Cyprus, 1,120 first time asylum applications were submitted in September 2021 compared with 635 in September 2020. In August 2021 there were 525 applications lodged, however in July that number had been at 1,455.
September was the first month during the COVID-19 pandemic where the number of applications in the EU exceeded the last pre-pandemic level of February 2020 (55,700) and also the level observed in September 2019 (54,500).
In the case of Cyprus, 1,285 applications had been submitted in February 2020, and 1,010 had been submitted in September 2019.
Furthermore, in September 2021, there were also 8600 subsequent applicants in the EU (people who reapplied for asylum after a decision had been taken on a previous application). This was up by 31% when compared with August 2021 and down by 23% compared with January 2021 (the first month for which these new data were collected).
Data from Denmark, Cyprus, Poland and Sweden on subsequent applicants are not available. As a result, the EU total was calculated based on available data.
Afghanistan and Syria
In September 2021, Afghans were the largest group of persons seeking asylum (13,800 first-time applicants). They were followed by Syrians (8,700), Iraqis and Bangladeshis (both 2,700), Turks (2,500) and Pakistanis (2,400).
The number of applications for international protection lodged by Afghans increased by 63% compared to August 2021 and accounted for almost one-quarter of all first-time asylum applications in the EU in September 2021.
Most in Germany and France
With 13,800 first-time applicants registered in September 2021, Germany accounted for nearly one quarter (23%) of all first-time applicants in the EU. This was closely followed by France (12,800, or 21%), ahead of Italy (6,300, or 10%) and Spain (6,200, or 10%).
These four Member States together accounted for almost two-thirds of all first-time applicants in the EU.
Lithuania, Poland and Italy recorded the largest relative increases in first-time asylum seekers in September 2021 compared with September 2020 (1 011%, 772% and 493% respectively).
In September 2021, 2,800 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum, remaining at the level of the previous month. However, the number more than doubled from January 2021 (1,300).
Austria (660), Belgium (390) and the Netherlands (300) were the three Member States with the highest numbers of unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in September 2021.