The number of first time asylum seekers applying for international protection in the European Union rose by 58 per cent year-on-year in September 2021, with Cyprus receiving 1,120, according to monthly data published by Eurostat.
In September this year there were 60,800 first time asylum applications versus 38,600 in September 2020. Compared with August 2021, when 50,200 applications were received, there was an increase of about 21 per cent.
In Cyprus, 1,120 first time asylum applications were submitted in September 2021 compared with 635 in September 2020.
In August 2021 there were 525 applications, down from July, when 1,455 applications were lodged.
September was the first month during the Covid-19 pandemic when the number of applications in the EU exceeded the last pre-pandemic level of February 2020 (55,700) and also the level observed in September 2019 (54,500).
In the case of Cyprus, 1,285 applications had been submitted in February 2020, and 1,010 had been submitted in September 2019.
Furthermore, in September 2021, there were also 8,600 subsequent applicants in the EU (people who reapplied for asylum after a decision had been taken on a previous application). This was up by 31 per cent when compared with August 2021 and down by 23 per cent against January 2021 (the first month for which this new data was collected).
Data from Denmark, Cyprus, Poland and Sweden on subsequent applicants are not available. As a result, the EU total was calculated based on available data.
In September 2021, Afghans were the largest group of persons seeking asylum (13,800 first-time applicants). They were followed by Syrians (8,700), Iraqis and Bangladeshis (both 2,700), Turks (2,500) and Pakistanis (2,400).
The number of applications for international protection lodged by Afghans increased by 63 per cent compared with August 2021 and accounted for almost one-quarter of all first-time asylum applications in the EU in September 2021.
With 13,800 first time applicants registered in September 2021, Germany accounted for nearly one quarter (23 per cent) of all first time applicants in the EU. This was closely followed by France (12,800, or 21 per cent), ahead of Italy (6,300, or 10 per cent) and Spain (6,200, or 10 per cent).
These four states together accounted for almost two-thirds of all first-time applicants in the EU.
In September 2021, 2,800 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum, remaining at the level of the previous month. However, the number more than doubled from January 2021 (1,300).
Austria (660), Belgium (390) and the Netherlands (300) were the three member states with the highest numbers of unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in September 2021.