More than 77,500 first-time asylum applicants asked for international protection in the EU in August, the latest monthly asylum data from Eurostat showed Friday. That was 11,000 more than in the previous month and the highest number since 2016.
The August number constitutes an increase of 17 percent compared to July 2022 and was up 54 percent compared to August 2021.
Among the applicants, Syrians were the largest group (11,860 first-time applicants), followed by Afghans (10,675), Indians (4,170), Turks (4,105) and Venezuelans (3,565).
While there was a large increase in Ukrainian first-time asylum applicants earlier this year following Russia’s invasion (from 2,370 in February to 12,890 in March), the numbers have been decreasing since — from 1,510 in April to 915 in August. This is due to the fact that the overwhelming majority of those fleeing Ukraine benefit from temporary protection and do not apply for asylum.
Germany has been the EU member state reporting the highest total number of first-time asylum applicants in the bloc. In August, 16,950 people asked for asylum in Germany, accounting for 22 percent of the bloc’s total applications. Germany was followed by Austria (14,030, 18 percent), France (11,900, 15 percent), Spain (8,650, 11 percent), and Italy (5,985, 8 percent). Those five countries accounted for 74 percent of total applications.
Relative to the country’s population, the highest rate of registered first-time applicants in August was recorded in Austria (1,563 applicants per million population), followed by Cyprus (1,482) and Croatia (351). Hungary had the lowest rate.