Last year, first-time asylum applicants in the European Union were up by 64%. Adjusted for population, Luxembourg was third highest in the bloc for first-time applicants.

881,200 first-time asylum applications were filed for international protection in countries within the EU in 2022. This figure represents a 64% increase in first-time asylum applications when compared to figures for 2021 (537,400).

Following a drop in first-time applications in 2020, numbers have increased for two consecutive years, but have remained below the peaks registered in 2015 and 2016 as a result of the conflicts in Syria.

The EU in 2022 granted temporary protection status to 4,331,200 non-EU citizens fleeing Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. On 31 December 2022, some 3,826,600 non-EU citizens benefited from temporary protection in the bloc.

According to Eurostat, "the difference between the two previous figures corresponds to the termination of the temporary protection status because former beneficiaries of temporary protection meanwhile left the country or obtained another status."


© Eurostat

Main citizenships seeking asylum for the first time

In 2022, 46% of first-time asylum applicants held Asian citizenship, while 22% had African citizenship, 17% held non-EU European citizenship and the remaining 14% held North or South American citizenship.

Since 2013, Syria has been the main country of citizenship for EU asylum seekers. 15% of the total of first-time asylum applicants for the EU in 2022 were lodged by Syrian citizens.

For the fourth consecutive year, citizens from Afghanistan held the second spot for asylum seekers, representing 13% of the EU total with 113,495 applicants.

Applications from Venezuela and Turkey follow behind, with Colombia representing the fifth main country submitting asylum applications in 2022, totally 5% of the EU total.


© Eurostat

25% of first-time asylum applications filed in Germany

In 2022, Germany registered 217,735 first-time asylum applicants, accounting for one quarter of all first-time applications in the EU. Germany has maintained its position as the European Union Country that recieves the highest number of asylum applicants.

Read also: Tensions brew in Germany over refugee arrivals

France and Spain follow closely behind Germany in terms of applications, along with Austria and Italy rounding off the top five in the EU. Together, these five countries account for 75% of all first-time asylum applicants in the European Union.

First-time asylum application in relation to populations of member states

When factoring the population of each EU country, in 2022 the highest figure of registered first-time asylum applicants was recorded in Cyprus, with 23,864 first-time applicants per million people.

Read also: Godsend or 'ghetto': Syrian migrants flock to small Cyprus town

Luxembourg held the third position in this regard, with 3,711 first-time applications in 2022. According to the latest figures from the Ministry for Immigration and Asylum, 135 people filed for asylum in Luxembourg in February 2023.

Hungary, on the other hand, recorded the least first-time asylum applications, with just 5 applications per million inhabitants.

When observing the EU as a whole, in 2022 there were 1,973 first-time asylum applicants per million people.


© Eurostat