EU says Afghan-Syrian asylum claim gap closing

EU says Afghan-Syrian asylum claim gap closing
2 min read
17 September, 2021
Asylum applications from Afghans into the EU have seen a spike over the last few months while ministers fear a replay of the 2015 European migration crisis.
Many Afghans have been trying to flee the country after the Taliban took over [Getty]

The number of Afghan asylum claims has increased significantly in the last five months, closing the gap further between the number of Syrian asylum applications, The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) said on Thursday. 

According to EASO analysis, applications made by Afghans shot up by 21% from June to July totalling 7300, which came close to the number of Syrian applications that month - 8500 up 14% from June. Turkish, Iraqi and Pakistani asylum claims were also among the largest number in Europe. 

About 50,000 applications were made to asylum offices across the EU in July alone, which has been the highest since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the gap between Afghan and Syrian applications had been closing slowly since December 2020. 

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The EASO also reported a rise in self-claimed unaccompanied minors who "lodged more than 2200 applications in the EU+ in July, compared to 1900 in June and 1500 in May," the EASO said.

"The main driver of this development has been unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan, whose applications rose from 700 in May to 1000 in June and close to 1200 in July, i.e. accounting for half of all unaccompanied minors,” it added.

Many EU countries have expressed concerns that the Taliban’s rule over Afghanistan could trigger something similar to the 2015/2016 migration crisis when more than 1 million people fled from wars and forced labour across the Middle East. 

Following a meeting in Brussels on 31 August, the 27 nations across the EU said they “stand determined to act jointly to prevent the recurrence of uncontrolled large-scale illegal migration movements faced in the past, by preparing a coordinated and orderly response.” 

The UK announced it ​​aims to host 20,000 Afghans over the next five years through the Afghan Citizens' Resettlement Scheme.