Global Trends – Forced Displacement in 2018
Where do new asylum-seekers come from?
For the first time, asylum claims from Venezuelans dominated the global asylum statistics with 341,800 new claims in 2018, accounting for more than 1 in 5 claims submitted. In addition to this significantly increased number of new individual claims, an estimated 2.6 million Venezuelans have fled the country but have not applied for asylum, many of whom have international protection needs.
Afghanistan was the next most common country of origin for individual new asylum applications in 2018, with 107,500 claims lodged in 80 countries. As has been the case since 2016, Turkey received the most claims, followed by Greece and France, where numbers of applicants from Afghanistan increased.
Asylum claims from Syrians were the third most common, there were 106,200 new claims in 2018, a quarter of the peak number of 409,900 lodged in 2015. The number of new individual claims is in addition to new arrivals in countries where Syrians receive prima facie or group recognition or temporary protection. This is the case in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. In addition to these countries, individual asylum claims from Syrians were lodged in 98 other countries, mostly in Europe.
The fourth most common country of origin for asylum applications was Iraq with 72,600 new claims in 2018, 20,000 of them in Turkey. This was followed by Germany, which received 16,300 in 2018, down from 21,900 in 2017 and dramatically fewer than the 96,100 received in 2016. Iraqis also applied for asylum 70 other countries.
Similar to the past couple of years, the fifth most common country of origin remained DRC with 61,100 new applications in 2018, in addition to the 123,400 new refugee registrations on a group or prima facie basis. Burundi was the recipient of the largest number of claims with 13,700.
Salvadorans submitted 46,800 new claims globally in 2018, the sixth highest. Most of these were submitted in the United States of America (33,400).
There were 42,000 new asylum claims from Eritreans in 2018, a small decline from the 49,900 in 2017. Israel received the most claims with 6,300, followed by Germany with 5,600.
Hondurans made up the eighth largest group to apply for asylum in 2018 with 41,500 new claims. More than half of these claims were submitted in the United States of America (24,400).
Nigerians were the ninth most common nationality for new asylum-seekers with 39,200 new claims in 2018 about a quarter of which were registered in Germany.
Nationals of Pakistan submitted 35,800 new asylum claims in 2018. Italy received the largest number of these claims with 7,300, followed by Greece (7,200).
Other nationalities that submitted significant numbers of new asylum claims in 2018 included the Islamic Republic of Iran (35,800), Guatemala (34,800), Sudan (32,400) and Nicaragua (31,400).
While these figures give an indicative overview of the situation, the country of origin for some asylum-seekers is unknown, underestimated or undisclosed by some States. Data may include instances of double counting, as some people are likely to have applied for asylum in more than one country. Some countries do not submit asylum data at all.
More asylum-seekers were rejected than were granted protection
Provisional figures indicate that States and UNHCR made 1,134,200 decisions on individual asylum applications – new, on appeal, or repeat – during 2018. These figures do not include cases closed for administrative reasons with no decision issued to applicants, of which 514,900 were reported in 2018.
Available data indicate that 500,100 asylum-seekers were granted protection in 2018, with 351,100 recognized as refugees and 149,000 granted a complementary form of protection. This was the lowest figure since 2013. About 634,100 claims were rejected on substantive grounds, a number that includes negative decisions at the first instance and on appeal.
At the global level (UNHCR and State asylum procedures combined), the Total Protection Rate (TPR) was 44 per cent – i.e. the percentage of substantive decisions that resulted in any form of international protection. This rate is lower than the previous year when it stood at 49 per cent and substantially lower than the 60 per cent reported in 2016.
Looking at the global figures for the countries of origin with over 10,000 substantive decisions, nationals of Burkina Faso had the highest TPR (86 per cent), followed by nationals of DRC (83 per cent), Eritrea (81 per cent), Syria (81 per cent) and Somalia (73 per cent). Just over half of Afghans applications received protection (54 per cent). Venezuelans received protection in under half of decisions (40 per cent) as did Iraqis (46 per cent).
The TPR varies greatly depending on the countries of asylum. For example, Switzerland had a TPR of 75 per cent, compared with Australia and Sweden where only about a quarter of asylum decisions granted protection. Germany made the most substantive decisions (245,700) and had a TPR of 43 per cent.
Millions of people waiting for decisions
There were 3,503,300 asylum-seekers waiting for decisions on pending claims at the end of 2018, 13 per cent more than the previous year. The largest asylum-seeker population at the end of 2018 continued to be in the United States of America (719,000). In Germany the asylum-seeker population continued to reduce, reaching 369,300, a decline of 14 per cent.
Turkey hosted the third largest asylum-seeker population (311,700) not including Syrians who are protected under the country’s Temporary Protection Regulation and do not undergo individual refugee status determination.
Peru has seen a more than six-fold increase of its asylum-seeker population to 230,900 due to the large number of asylum claims from Venezuelans received during the year.
Venezuelans were the nationality with the largest number of pending asylum claims in 2018 with 464,200 cases compared with 148,000 in 2017. Asylum-seekers from Afghanistan constituted the second largest nationality of origin with 310,100 pending claims, followed by Iraqi asylum-seekers (256,700) and asylum-seekers from Syria (139,600) at the end of 2018 Despite improved statistical reporting on pending asylum applications, the actual number of undecided asylum cases is underestimated, as some countries do not report this information.