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Latest asylum statistics

Briefing notes

Latest asylum statistics

5 December 2002

Statistics on asylum applications in 29 industrialized countries for the first nine months of this year show that the top country of origin of asylum seekers from January to September this year was Iraq, with over 36,000 applications, or almost 12,000 more claims than the next largest country of origin, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. While the overall number of applications from Iraqis for the nine-month period remained the same compared to the same timeframe in 2001, in the third quarter of 2002, applications showed an increase of 27 percent compared to the previous quarter, a similar quarterly pattern to last year.

Other major countries of origin, each accounting for more than 10,000 asylum claims from January to September 2002, were the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Turkey, Afghanistan, China, the Russian Federation, India and Colombia. Applications from Afghans showed the largest decrease compared to the same timeframe last year, with a drop of 48 percent. For the first nine months of 2002, Afghans were the fourth largest group of asylum seekers, while in the same period of 2001, they were the single largest group.

In Europe, the largest percentage increases among the major nationalities compared to the first nine months of 2001 were seen in applications from nationals of China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria. Applications from nationals of Zimbabwe also increased compared to January through September 2001, with 5,300 applications in Europe, or an almost 400 percent increase over last year.

Overall, comparing the first nine months of 2002 to the same timeframe of 2001, total new applications in Europe remained at the same level, while all 29 countries combined saw an overall 4 percent decrease. However, from the second quarter of 2002 to the third quarter, applications rose by 13 percent in Europe, while in the five non-European asylum countries covered, quarterly claims fell by 18 percent.