Greece Sees Surge in Asylum Applications Amid EU-Wide Increase

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Greece has seen a surge in asylum applications, an estimated 10,285,  amid an EU-wide increase which saw the country along with Germany, Italy, France and Spain make for 85% of the first-time asylum applicants into Europe according to 2023 Eurostat data.

In November 2023, 108 950 first-time asylum applicants (non-EU citizens) applied for international protection in EU countries, an 11% increase compared with November 2022 (97 800).

There were also 6 375 subsequent applicants, representing a 3% increase compared with November 2022 (6 215).

Syrian nationals remained the largest group of asylum-seekers

As in previous months, in November 2023, Syrians continued to be the largest group of people seeking asylum (23 460 first-time applicants). They were followed by Turks (12 870), ahead of Afghans (7 930), Venezuelans (6 175) and Colombians (5 445).

Germany, Italy, Spain and France and Greece: 82% of all first-time asylum applicants

Similarly to previous months, in November 2023, Germany (36 495), Italy (14 160), Spain (14 105), France (14 070) and Greece (10 285) continued to receive the highest number of first-time asylum applicants, accounting for 82% of all first-time applicants in the EU.

In November 2023, based on available data, the EU total of first-time asylum applicants was 24.3 per hundred thousand people.

Compared with the population of each EU country (on 1 January 2023), the highest rates of registered first-time applicants in November 2023 were recorded in Cyprus (154.8) and Greece (98.9).

Key findings for Greece:

  • Applications up 10.6%: Greece saw a 10.6% increase in first-time asylum applications compared to November 2022, with 10,285 individuals seeking protection.
  • Highest rate in EU per capita: Based on population, Greece had the second-highest rate of first-time asylum applicants in the EU (98.9 per 100,000 people), only surpassed by Cyprus.
  • Top destination for Afghans and others: Greece ranked fifth among EU countries receiving the most applications overall, and was a leading destination for specific nationalities like Afghans (7th place) and Colombians (5th place).

EU-wide context:

  • Overall increase: EU-wide applications grew by 11% compared to November 2022, reaching 108,950.
  • Top receiving countries: Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and Greece received 82% of all first-time applications.
  • Syrians remain largest group: Syrian nationals were again the most common applicants, followed by Turks, Afghans, Venezuelans, and Colombians.

(Source: Eurostat)

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