The Malta Independent 4 June 2020, Thursday

Number of first-time asylum applicants in Malta doubles between 2018 and 2019

Albert Galea Tuesday, 24 March 2020, 08:16 Last update: about 3 months ago
File Photo
File Photo

The number of first-time asylum applicants in Malta practically doubled from 2,085 in 2018 to 4,000 in 2019 – the second highest percentage increase across the European Union in that period.

Data published by the European Union’s statistics body notes that Malta had seen a 97% increase in first-time asylum applicants, with the country receiving 4,000 applications in 2019. Only Spain recorded a higher percentage increase – with a 118% increase from 52,730 to 115,175 applications.


The value of Malta’s application numbers itself pales in comparison to the total of 612,000 applications received across the EU in the same year, but it should be noted that when comparing the number of first-time applicants per million people Malta – with 8,108 applications per million people – is second only to Cyprus, which registered 14,495 applications per million people.

The European Union average is of 1,371 applications per million people. The lowest numbers were recorded in Slovakia (39 applicants per million people), Hungary (48), Poland (73), Estonia (76) and Latvia (93).

A ‘first-time asylum applicant or seeker’ is defined as a person who has submitted an application for international protection or has been included in such an application as a family member, for the first-time.

With 142,400 first-time applicants registered in 2019, Germany accounted for 23% of all first-time applicants in the EU Member States. It was closely followed by France (119,900, or 20%) and Spain (115,200, or 19%), ahead of Greece (74,900, or 12%) and Italy (35,000, or 6%).

Malta’s share of the EU total stands at 0.7%., which is higher than 14 EU countries.

Syrian (12% of the total number of first-time applicants) was the main citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU Member States in 2019, a position it has held each year since 2013.

Of the 74,400 Syrians who applied for asylum for the first-time in the EU in 2019, more than half were registered in Germany (39 300, or 53%). Syrian was the main citizenship of asylum seekers in seven EU Member States.

With 52,500 first-time applicants in 2019, Afghan was the second main citizenship of asylum seekers in the EU Member States, while with 44,800 first-time applications, Venezuelans were the third main citizenship of asylum seekers.

Almost half of Afghans applied in Greece, while 90% of Venezuelans applied in Spain.

In Malta’s case, just over a quarter (26%) of the first-time applications came from Sudanese nationals. This equates to 1,045 applications. A further 430 applications (11%) came from Syrians, and another 255 (6%) came from Libyans.

At the end of 2019, 842,500 applications for international protection in the EU Member States were still under consideration by the national authorities. At the end of 2018, this figure was slightly higher (851,000).

Germany had the largest share of applications pending in the EU at the end of 2019 (326,800, or 39% of the EU total), ahead of Spain (133,000, or 16%), Greece (105,400, or 13%), France (74,400, or 9%) and Italy (47,000, or 6%).


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