UNHCR Report: “2010 Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries”; Levels Fall to Half of 2001 Levels

From UNHCR’s statement summarizing the report which was released this morning:

“Asylum figures fall in 2010 to almost half their 2001 levels-

GENEVA – The number of asylum-seekers in the industrialized world continued to fall in 2010, bringing the figure down to nearly half the level at the start of the millennium.

This was among the main findings as the UN refugee agency today released its 2010 statistical overview of asylum applications in 44 industrialized countries. The report deals with new asylum claims and does not show how many individuals were granted refugee status.

According to the report, 358,800 asylum applications were lodged in industrialized countries last year – down 5 per cent from 2009, and some 42 per cent lower than the decade’s peak in 2001, when almost 620,000 asylum applications were made…

Numbers fall in most regions

Last year’s total number of new asylum claims was the fourth lowest in the last decade. Year-on-year decreases were reported in most regions, including in Europe, North America and North Asia. Within Europe, the largest decline was seen in southern Europe, where claims fell by 33 per cent compared to 2009. This was mainly because fewer people requested protection in Malta, Italy and Greece. However, this decline was offset by increases elsewhere, especially in Germany (49%), Sweden (32%), Denmark (30%), Turkey (18%), Belgium (16%) and France (13%). In the Nordic countries, the increases in Denmark and Sweden were offset by substantial declines in Norway (-42 per cent) and Finland (-32 per cent)….

US tops recipient list

Among individual countries, the United States remained the largest asylum recipient for the fifth consecutive year, accounting for one out of every six asylum applications in the industrialized countries covered in the report. The US saw an increase of 6,500 applications, partly due to a rise in the number of Chinese and Mexican asylum-seekers.

France maintained its position as host to the second-largest number of new applications, with 47,800 in 2010, largely from Serbian, Russian and Congolese asylum-seekers. Germany became the third-largest recipient country with a 49-percent rise. The increases can partly be attributed to a rise in asylum seekers from Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. That development is widely attributed to the introduction of visa-free entry to the European Union for nationals of these two countries since December 2009.

Sweden and Canada ranked fourth and fifth respectively. Together, the top five countries of asylum accounted for more than half (56 per cent) of all asylum applications covered in this report.

Most claims from Serbia

In terms of places of origin, the largest group of asylum-seekers in 2010 were from Serbia (28,900, including Kosovo). The country saw a 54 per cent increase compared to 2009, when it ranked sixth. Interestingly, the number of asylum applications in 2010 was comparable to 2001, soon after the Kosovo crisis.

Afghanistan slid to second place with a decrease of 9 per cent compared to the previous year. Unlike in 2009, when Afghan claims were mainly lodged in Norway and the United Kingdom, in 2010 more claims were filed in Germany and Sweden. Chinese asylum-seekers made up the third-largest asylum group in 2010, partly due to a substantial drop in the number of new applications from Iraq and Somalia. For the first time since 2005, Iraq was not one of the top two countries of origin of asylum-seekers. It dropped to fourth place, followed by the Russian Federation. Somalia, which occupied the third spot in 2009, fell to sixth in 2010….”

Click here for full report.

Click here for key graphs from report.

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Filed under Data / Stats, European Union, News, Reports, UNHCR

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