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EU asylum applications see massive drop during COVID times

EU asylum applications see massive drop during COVID times

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) officials said that in April the number of asylum applications dropped by 87 percent compared to January, RMX reported.

In April, authorities in 27 EU countries as well as the four countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which consists of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, received only 8,730 asylum applications.

The drastic decreasing of people who wants to apply for the EU asylum surprised the EU officials. During the COVID crisis, the number of new asylum applications in the EU and four other countries experienced a severe drop in April, EASO said. The office has reported a decrease of 87 percent compared to January.

According to EASO, this is the lowest number of applications since 2008. In January, these countries had still registered 65,692 applications. Normally, most asylum seekers who completed an application in April, were from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Turkey.

Already in March, when individual European countries started to introduce restrictive measures against COVID-19 and the Schengen Area closed its external borders, the decrease in the number of new asylum applications was noticeable. Only about 35,000 of them were filed in the territory of the 31 states concerned. In the whole of 2019, the EU and EFTA countries received around 714,000 asylum applications.

A particularly large drop in the number of submitted applications was recorded in the case of people from Venezuela and Colombia, who had no way to get to Europe due to the lockdown.

Colombians, Venezuelans almost stopped to apply for the EU asylum in April

Compared to the beginning of this year, the number of applications from Venezuelans dropped by 98 percent and from Colombians by 99 percent in April, however, according to EASO, “there is no indication that there is less demand for international protection.”

On the contrary, European nations should be prepared for increases in asylum applications in the medium term, including due to the repercussions of coronavirus on poor nations like Venezuela and Colombia.

Nearly 300,000 migrants were granted asylum in the EU in 2019, which was a slight decrease from the previous year.