The number of Arab asylum applicants in the European Union rose last year, amid economic and political crises in several Arab countries.
Data from the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) shows that Syria, Iraq and Morocco topped the 10 Arab states whose citizens applied for asylum in EU countries in 2022.
1 – Syria
Around 131,700 Syrians applied for asylum in Europe in 2022. The high number of Syrian asylum applicants was attributed to the worsening political and security conditions in Syria since 2011.
These applications were double the number registered in 2020, where only 64,540 asylum applications were registered, the lowest number since 2014.
In 2015, Syrian nationals made more than 371,000 requests for asylum, the highest number of requests ever recorded.
Interestingly, 94 percent of Syrian asylum seekers had their applications accepted, registering the highest rate of applications accepted at the Arab and international level.
However, more than 88,000 Syrian asylum applications were still pending.
2 – Iraq
Despite improving political and security conditions, Iraq was second on the list of countries whose citizens applied for asylum in EU countries in 2022.
The data showed that more than 26,900 Iraqis applied for asylum in Europe in 2022. However, only 30 percent of those applications were accepted. More than 17,000 asylum applications were still pending.
The highest number of asylum applications from Iraq was recorded in 2015, with 126,000 applications. At that time, the Daesh terrorist group captured the northern and western parts of the country.
The number of asylum applications fell significantly in 2020, registering fewer than 18,200 applications amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
3 – Morocco
Morocco followed Iraq with 21,895 asylum applications in 2022, the highest number since 2014, which registered 4,904 applications.
In 2020, only 7,662 asylum applications were made.
However, only 5 percent of these applications were accepted, and more than 17,000 applications were still pending.
4 – Tunisia
Tunisia, a nation of 12.5 million, registered 21,447 asylum applications in the EU in 2022.
The number of asylum applications increased ninefold between 2017 and 2022, reflecting a state of concern about the political and economic situation in the North African country.
Like Morocco, Tunisia in 2022 recorded the highest number of asylum applications since 2014. However, only 2 percent of these applications were accepted, and 6,247 applications were still pending. This was linked to the EU’s classification of Tunisia as a safe country, with priority given to countries with security concerns, such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Libya.
5 – Somalia
Somalis lodged 17,590 asylum applications with EU countries in 2022, an increase from 11,180 applications in 2020.
About 59 percent of these applications were accepted, a rate that was higher than many Arab nationalities.
However, more than 14,000 asylum applications were still pending with immigration services in EU countries.
6 – Egypt
Egypt, a country of 107 million people, registered 15,429 asylum applications in 2022, the highest number since 2014.
This number has almost tripled in two years. The lowest number of applications was recorded in 2020 with approximately 3,220 applications.
About 7 percent of these applications were accepted because Egypt, like Tunisia and Morocco, is classified as a safe country.
7 – Algeria
9,765 asylum applications from Algeria were recorded in the EU in 2022.
The highest number of asylum applications from Algeria was registered in 2016 with 12,371 applications as the North African country faced an economic crisis amid falling oil prices.
However, around 8 percent of these applications were accepted because Algeria is classified as a safe country.
8 – Palestine
There were 6,750 applications for Palestinian asylum in the EU in 2022. These applications were twice the number of applications registered in 2020, which included 3,313 applications for asylum.
The highest number of asylum applications was recorded in 2018 with 7,363 applications.
Some 5,486 asylum applications were still pending.
Palestine is classified as an unsafe country, and the percentage of accepted Palestinian asylum requests reaches 65 percent, the highest percentage in the Arab world, after Syria and Yemen.
9 – Sudan
Sudan made more than 5,660 asylum applications in 2022, up from 3,152 applications in 2020. The highest number of asylum applications from Sudan was recorded in 2015 and 2016, with 11,350 applications in each.
Around 48 percent of Sudanese asylum applications were accepted, eight points above the European average.
10 – Yemen
Yemenis made 5,340 requests for asylum in 2022, the highest number of requests made in the past nine years.
Yemen recorded the lowest number of asylum applications in 2017 with 2,332 applications.
Yemenis, after the Syrians, receive priority in the Arab world in terms of accepting applications for asylum in Europe, and the acceptance rate reaches 84 percent. Some 3,906 asylum applications were still pending.