UNHCR Press Release
Full report can be downloaded here: AsylumTrends.pdf
The overall number of asylum seekers in the *44 industrialized nations was stable in 2009, according to the UNHCR provisional statistical report that measures asylum levels and trends in industrialized nations.
Compared to 2008, the overall number of asylum seekers remained the same with 377,000 applications, despite significant regional disparities highlighted by the report. The number of asylum applications increased in 19 countries, while they fell in the other 25. Of note was the Nordic region that recorded a 13 percent increase with 51,100 new applicants, the highest in six years. By contrast, the number of applications in southern Europe went down by 33 percent with 50,100 claims, driven by significant declines in Italy (-42%), Turkey (-40%) and Greece (-20%).
The United Kingdom ranked fourth among the 44 industrialized countries with 29,800 new applications received during the year. This constituted a 5 per cent decrease compared to 2008 and the third lowest figure in 15 years.
Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, the Russian Federation and China remained the five most important source countries of asylum-seekers in the 44 industrialized countries.
Afghans topped the list of asylum applicants with 26,800 submissions representing a 45 per cent increase over 2008. Iraqis dropped to second place with some 24,000 claims, while Somalis moved to third position with 22,600 asylum applications.
The yearly UNHCR report analyses asylum levels and trends in the *44 industrialized nations: Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Rep. of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States
The United States stayed the main destination country for the fourth year, with 13 percent of the claims representing an estimated 49,000 people, in particular from China. Second was France, receiving 42,000 new applications in 2009, a 19 percent hike compared to 2008, due to increasing claims from citizens of Serbia originating predominantly from Kosovo. Canada, while still ranking third among receiving countries, saw the number of asylum applications decrease by 10 percent in 2009 down to 33,000 after a drop in Mexican and Haitian claims. Following was The United Kingdom which also registered a drop in claims with 29,800 applications, one of the lowest in 15 years. On the other hand, claims in Germany increased by 25 percent with 27,600 applications recorded in 2009, making it the fifth largest receiving country. Together, these five top destination countries received 48 percent of the total claims recorded in 2009.
In terms of regions of origin, nearly half of the total 377,000 applicants originate from Asia and the Middle East (45%), followed by Africa (29%), Europe (15.5%), and the Americas (9%).
Ranking of countries
A variety of factors influence trends in the number of people requesting international protection in a given country. These include factors related to the political or security situation in the country of origin. For countries of asylum, important factors influencing the decision to apply for asylum may be the quality of the asylum system, the existence of social networks, the knowledge of reception conditions and a belief that some countries are more likely to grant refugee status than others.
Editors note: All data in this message from UNHCR