Learning to Live

Data and Statistics on EU Migration

Migration Flows to Europe

Published by the EU Commission on the 4th of august 2021 (data extracted on the 16th of March 2021 and 19th April 2021)

  • 416,600 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the EU in 2020, of which, Syrian, Afghan, Venezuelan and Colombian represented the main citizenships of asylum applicants. 
  • 41% of EU first instance asylum decisions resulted in positive outcomes in 2020.

According to the International migration flows, here are the general trends of the Migration Flows to Europe:

  • Migration has become much more diverse in terms of origins of migrants.
  • Both globally and in Europe, most migration is intra-continental.
  • The number of refugees is on the rise worldwide. Most refugees seek harbour in neighbouring countries. Since 2015, with the so-called “refugees and migrant crisis”, Europe too has dealt with increasing numbers of asylum seekers. 2.4 million refugees and people in refugee-like situations and 860 thousand asylum-seekers (pending cases) were hosted in EU-27 Member States at the end of 2018.
  • Over 160,000 migrants found to be illegally present in the EU return annually to their countries of origin, whether from enforced or voluntary returns; many more return voluntarily when their circumstances change (e.g. end of studies, family reasons, employment).
  • A total of 28,256 migrants were assisted through IOM to return from the European Economic Area (EEA) in 2019, which accounted for 43.6 per cent of the total caseload. Germany was the top host country in the EEA with the highest number of beneficiaries assisted or 13, 053 migrants (IOM, 2020).
  • The competition for talent has become global. In this context, Europe is working on a number of initiatives to attract more highly skilled migrants.
  • In the Western Hemisphere and Europe in particular, the salience of migration as a political and social concern has intensified.

More information can be found on the following:

Displaced migrants and refugees

An estimated 362,000 refugees and migrants risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2016, with 181,400 people arriving in Italy and 173,450 in Greece. In the first half of 2017, over 105,000 refugees and migrants entered Europe.

This movement towards Europe continues to take a devastating toll on human life. Since the beginning of 2017, over 2,700 people are believed to have died or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe, with reports of many others perishing en route. These risks do not end once in Europe. Those moving onwards irregularly have reported numerous types of abuse, including being pushed back across borders. With so many lives at risk, rescue-at-sea operations undertaken by all actors must remain a priority.

Despite some progress in increasing the number of safe pathways to Europe, these opportunities are far too few to offer a feasible alternative to risky irregular journeys for people in need of protection. Further efforts are needed to increase access to existing legal pathways, including family reunification. UNHCR also calls for European and other countries to offer an additional 40,000 resettlement places, which will complement already existing commitments, to be made available for refugees located in 15 priority countries along the Central Mediterranean route.

Those arriving in Europe need adequate reception and assistance, particularly those with specific needs, including unaccompanied and separated children and survivors of sexual and gender based violence, and access to fair and efficient asylum procedures. More solidarity is needed within the EU to ensure protection, including through efficient and speedy family reunion and relocation.

Overall, there is a need for a comprehensive plan of action that will support long-term solutions to the complex issue of mixed migration and help address its root causes, in close cooperation with countries of origin and transit and in line with international law.

“The simple truth is that refugees would not risk their lives on a journey so dangerous if they could thrive where they are.”

Melissa Fleming, UNHCR

Global Resettlement 2020

In June 2020, UNHCR published its annual ‘Projected Global Resettlement Needs’ document, noting: An estimated 1.44m refugees around the world are in need of resettlement in 2020 – an increase of around 1% from 2019, but 20% more than 2018.

Projected resettlement needs have increased significantly in both the Africa and Americas region since 2019 (by 6 and 22%, respectively).

Syrians are the refugee population with the highest global resettlement needs, albeit decreasing as a percentage of overall global needs.

UNHCR’s resettlement priorities for 2020 are countries in which a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) is being rolled out, the Central Mediterranean situation, and resettlement out of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. UNHCR will additionally advocate for resettlement states to make flexible, unallocated quotas available for use for urgent and emergency resettlement cases.

Work to expand and improve global refugee resettlement continues to take place in the framework of the UNHCR-led Three-year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (2019-21).

On 1 July 2020, to mark the start of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the International Rescue Committee published an analysis of the Projected Global Resettlement Needs publication from the perspective of EU resettlement. Key highlights from ’10 things to know about global displacement and EU refugee resettlement’

Despite increases in resettlement to the EU in recent years, the percentage of global resettlement needs met by EU Member States has never exceeded 2%.

EU Member States are not resettling from the situations/refugee groups with the highest resettlement needs. While EU programmes have resettled large numbers of Syrian refugees, the group representing the largest proportion of global needs in recent years, other high needs refugees (Afghans) and refugee-hosting countries (Egypt, Uganda) are being left behind.

Just nine EU Member States are resettling evacuees from Libya via the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Niger, despite the Central Mediterranean situation being a key priority for both UNHCR and EU resettlement.

Member State participation in resettlement is inconsistent. In the past 5 years, only 10 Member States have received resettled refugees every year.

The UK has received 18-26% of all refugees resettled to the EU since 2015, and the UK departure from the EU at end 2020 will leave a significant gap in EU resettlement.

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