Creating new perspectives since 2009

Top 10 Arab nationalities seeking asylum in Europe

March 14, 2023 at 3:01 pm

Irregular migrants are seen as they continue to wait at European borders during cold weather. [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

The number of Arab asylum applicants in the European Union surged last year, amid economic and political crises in a number of Arab countries.

Data of the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) show that Syria, Iraq and Morocco came at the top of 10 Arab states whose citizens applied for asylum in EU countries in 2022.

1 – Syria

Around 131,700 Syrians applied for asylum in Europe in 2022. The high number of Syrian asylum applicants was attributed to the deteriorating political and security conditions in Syria since 2011.

These requests were double the number registered in 2020, where only 64,540 asylum applications were registered, the lowest since 2014.

In 2015, more than 371,000 asylum applications were made by Syrian nationals, the highest number of requests ever recorded.

Interestingly, 94 per cent of Syrian asylum seekers had their requests accepted, registering the highest rate for accepted applications at the Arab and international levels.

However, more than 88,000 Syrian asylum applications remained pending.

2 – Iraq

Despite improving political and security conditions, Iraq ranked second on the list of countries whose citizens applied for asylum in EU countries in 2022.

Data showed that over 26,900 Iraqis made asylum requests in Europe in 2022. Only 30 per cent of these applications, however, were accepted. More than 17,000 asylum applications remained pending.

The highest number of Iraqi asylum applications was recorded in 2015, with 126,000 requests. At that time, the northern and western parts of the country were seized by the Daesh terrorist group.

The number of asylum applications drastically dropped in 2020, registering less than 18,200 requests amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

3 – Morocco

Iraq was followed by Morocco with 21,895 asylum requests in 2022, the highest since 2014, which registered 4,904 applications.

In 2020, only 7,662 asylum requests were made.

However, only 5 per cent of these applications were accepted, while more than 17,000 requests remained pending.

4 – Tunisia

Tunisia, a nation of 12.5 million, registered 21,447 asylum applications in the EU in 2022.

The number of asylum requests increased nine-fold between 2017 and 2022, reflecting a state of concern about the political and economic situation in the North African country.

Tunisia, like Morocco, recorded in 2022 the highest number of asylum requests since 2014.However, only 2 per cent of these requests were accepted, while 6,247 applications remained pending. This was linked to the EU classification of Tunisia as a safe country, while priority is given to countries experiencing security unrest, such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya.

5 – Somalia

Somalis lodged 17,590 asylum requests with the EU countries in 2022, up from 11,180 applications in 2020.

Around 59 per cent of these applications were accepted, a rate that was higher than many Arab nationalities.

However, more than 14,000 asylum applications remained pending with immigration services in EU countries.

6 – Egypt

Egypt, a country of 107 million people, registered 15,429 asylum requests in 2022, the highest since 2014.

This number nearly tripled in two years. The lowest number of requests was recorded in 2020 with around 3,220 applications.

Around 7 per cent of these requests were accepted as Egypt, like Tunisia and Morocco, is classified as a safe country.

7 – Algeria

The number of Algerian asylum applications in the EU recorded 9,765 in 2022.

The highest number of Algerian asylum requests was registered in 2016 with 12,371 applications when the North African country faced an economic crisis amid falling oil prices.

Around 8 per cent of these requests, however, were accepted as Algeria is classified as a safe country.

8 – Palestine

There were 6,750 Palestinian asylum requests in the EU in 2022. These applications were double the number of requests registered in 2020, which saw 3,313 asylum applications.

The highest number of asylum requests was recorded in 2018 with 7,363 applications.

Around 5,486 asylum requests remained pending.

Palestine is classified as an unsafe country, with the percentage of acceptance of Palestinian asylum applications reaching 65 per cent, the highest percentage in the Arab world, after Syria and Yemen.

9 – Sudan

Sudanese made more than 5,660 asylum requests in 2022, up from 3,152 requests in 2020.The highest number of Sudanese asylum applications was recorded in 2015 and 2016, with 11,350 requests in each.

Around 48 per cent of Sudanese asylum requests were accepted, eight points above the European average.

10 – Yemen

Yemenis made 5,340 asylum requests in 2022, the highest number of applications made in the past nine years.

The lowest number of Yemeni asylum applications was recorded in 2017 with 2,332 requests.

Yemenis, after Syrians, receive priority in the Arab world in terms of accepting asylum applications in Europe, with the acceptance rate reaching 84 per cent. Around 3,906 asylum applications remained pending.