Cyprus had the highest rate of new applicants for asylum compared to its population in February 2023, according to data released by Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU. At the same time, however, new asylum applications have significantly reduced compared to last year.
In February 2023, Germany (25,335), Spain (12,840), France (10,520), and Italy (9,840) received the highest number of first-time asylum applicants, accounting for over three-quarters (77%) of all first-time applicants in the EU. In Cyprus, there were 800 new applications in the same month.
In total, in the EU as a whole, there were 171 first-time asylum applicants per million people in February 2023.
Compared with the population of each EU Member State (on 1 January 2022), the highest rates of registered first-time applicants in February 2023 were recorded in Cyprus (885 applicants per million people) and Croatia (649). By contrast, the lowest rate was observed in Hungary (0.2).
Applications increased by 41% in the EU
In absolute numbers, in February there were 76,505 first-time asylum applicants (non-EU citizens) applied for international protection in the EU countries. Compared with February 2022 (54,370), it represents a 41% increase. There were also 6,070 subsequent applicants, a 3% decrease compared with February 2022 (6,280).
Cyprus recorded a significant reduction in new asylum applications, with 800 new applications in February 2023 compared to 1,805 in February 2022.
As in the previous months, in February 2023, Syrians were the largest group of people seeking asylum (9,885 first-time applicants). They were followed by Afghans (9,310), ahead of Colombians (5,160) and Venezuelans (5,115).
Following Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, there was a significant increase in Ukrainian first-time asylum applicants (from 2,105 in February 2022 to 12,190 in March 2022), but the numbers have been decreasing monthly down to 1,110 in February 2023. This is also because people fleeing Ukraine benefit from temporary protection.
In February 2023, the number of first-time asylum applicants with Russian citizenship ranked 8th among all citizenships, with 2,385 applications.
In February 2023, 2,745 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum for the first time in the EU, mostly from Afghanistan (1,025) and Syria (675).
The EU countries which received the highest number of asylum applications from unaccompanied minors in February 2023 were Germany (1,415), Netherlands (240), Italy (205), Spain (195) and Austria (180).
Due to temporary derogations, data on subsequent applicants and unaccompanied minor asylum applicants are not available for Cyprus, France and Poland.