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15 July, 2024
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Cyprus sees sharp drop in asylum applications

New data shows 61% decrease in May 2023; Cyprus tops EU in applications per population

Newsroom / CNA

Cyprus has witnessed a significant decline in new asylum applications from non-EU countries, according to recently released data from Eurostat, the EU's statistical service. In May 2023, the Mediterranean island reported a 61% decrease in first-time asylum seekers compared to the same period in 2022. This is in stark contrast to the EU's overall trend, which saw a 27% increase in such applications during the same time frame.

Eurostat's report revealed that Cyprus maintains its position as the leading country in terms of new asylum applications per capita across the European Union. Although there is no available data on subsequent applicants in Cyprus, the EU as a whole experienced a 16% decrease in this category, indicating a shift in the overall trend.

According to the data, Cyprus registered 1,005 first-time asylum applicants in May 2023, a significant drop from the 2,560 applications in May 2022. This decline in applications aligns with the island nation's efforts to manage immigration more effectively.

Meanwhile, the EU as a whole saw a surge in first-time asylum applicants in May 2023, with 80,375 non-EU citizens applying for international protection, marking a 27% increase from the previous year's 63,455 applicants. Subsequent applicants decreased by 16%, dropping from 6,370 in May 2022 to 5,325 in May 2023.

The report noted that due to temporary derogations, data on subsequent applicants is unavailable for Cyprus, Denmark, and Sweden.

Syrians and Afghans constituted the largest groups of first-time applicants in May 2023, with Syrians leading at 12,110 applications, followed by Afghans (7,210), Venezuelans (7,015), and Colombians (6,745). The report also highlighted the impact of Russia's military actions on Ukrainian asylum applications. After a spike in March 2022, the numbers have gradually decreased, reaching 945 in May 2023, thanks in part to temporary protection measures for those fleeing Ukraine.

In terms of application rates per population, Cyprus remained at the forefront with 1,092 applicants per million people, surpassing Austria (448) as the EU leader. Germany, Spain, Italy, and France recorded the highest total numbers of first-time asylum applications, accounting for 78% of the EU's overall figures.

Additionally, the report highlighted that 3,065 unaccompanied minors sought asylum for the first time in the EU in May 2023. The majority of these minors were from Afghanistan (985) and Syria (870). Among EU nations, Germany led in applications from unaccompanied minors with 1,200, followed by the Netherlands (410) and Austria (405). Data for unaccompanied minor applicants in Cyprus and Poland were not available due to temporary derogations.

Cyprus  |  migrants  |  asylum  |  third-country

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