First quarter asylum applications
We now have the statistics on new asylum applications during the first quarter of 2001 in 28 industrialized countries. (Please note that Tables 1 and 2 apply only to 24 European countries whereas the last three tables also include four non-European industrialized countries.)
In Europe, a total of 101,000 asylum applications were lodged during the period January to March - which means a drop of 14 percent when compared with the last three months of 2000. In Belgium and Slovenia, the numbers dropped by more than 50 percent, and other significant decreases were noted in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Ireland. However, Austria saw a 50 percent increase, and Romania also saw a steep rise in numbers. In Europe, Afghans were the only one of the leading groups of asylum-seekers to increase, with 19 percent more coming during the first quarter. All the other leading groups of asylum-seekers in Europe arrived in reduced numbers - namely people from Iraq, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Iran, Bosnia, the Russian Federation and Sri Lanka. Afghans are now the largest group arriving in all 28 listed industrialized countries, overtaking the Iraqis. However, the Iraqis are still just ahead of the Afghans in the 24 European countries.