The number of people seeking international protection in Europe in 2017 has decreased by almost half in comparison to the anterior year, a report on the Latest Asylum Trends of the Asylum Agency of the European Union shows.

According to the Malta-based agency, 43 percent less people have applied for asylum in one of the EU+ countries (European Union plus Norway and Switzerland) in 2017 than in 2016. This is the second consecutive year with fewer applications after the unprecedented influx in 2015 and 2016. Leastways  3.5 percent of 2017 applicants were unaccompanied minors, report shows.

While Syrian nationals continue to lodge the most applications for the fifth consecutive year, their applications still declined the most in 2017, after 69 percent less people applied for asylum compared to the previous year. However, twice as many Syrians as any other citizenship, lodged an application for international protection in the EU+. Approximately one out of seven applicants in the EU+ was a Syrian national.  Yet, the recognition rate for Syrians at 94 percent was the highest of all citizenships.

While there were 60 percent less applications from the Iraqi, Bangladesh lodged more applications than in the previous year (around 3,800 more) and together with Guinea were the only two countries of the ten top countries that saw an increase in the number of applicants.

Among the 10 main countries of origin of applicants, which are either troubled middle eastern countries, or poorer African countries, is listed Albania. The nationals of the Southeastern European country lodged 25,512 applications in 2017 (6000 less than in 2016), marking the least evident year-to-year decrease in comparison with the other citizenship groups.

14 percent of the Albanian applications were repeated, thus making Albania the country with the largest share of repeated applicants. 55 thousand of the total applications (8 percent of the total) were repeated.

The top ten countries with most applications lodged are as follows:

  1. Syria –  98,583 applicants
  2. Iraq – 49,630 applicants
  3. Afghanistan  –  47,248 applicants
  4. Nigeria  –  41,890 applicants
  5. Pakistan  – 32,292 applicants
  6. Eritrea  –  28,049 applicants
  7. Albania   – 25,512  applicants
  8. Bangladesh –  21,143 applicants
  9. Guinea  –  28 percent more applicants compared to 2016
  10. Iran –  18,530 applicants

Other noteworthy increases were recorded for the following citizenships: Venezuelan (+ 158 percent), Turkish (+ 45 percent), Georgian (+ 35 percent) and Ivoirian (+ 24 percent) applicants.

Of all the positive decisions issued in 2017, the majority granted refugee status (59 percent) and a lower share resulted in subsidiary protection (41 percent). This distribution of the two European Union regulated types of protection was similar as in 2016.

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