Asylum statistics for the first three quarters of 2020: High recognition rates, increase in subsidiary protection grants

Asylum seekers during the first nine months of 2020

The main countries of origin of asylum seekers registered in the first nine months of 2020 were as follows:

The number of monthly registrations of new asylum seekers in Greece dropped from 5,180 in July to 2,645 in August and 1,800 in September. As regards Syrian nationals in particular, the number of new applicants fell from 1,385 in July to 440 in August and 225 in September.

According to Eurostat data, 75,675 persons had pending claims at all instances at the end of September 2020. Conversely, Ministry of Migration and Asylum figures for the same period refer to 90,283 pending cases.

Asylum Service decisions in the first nine months of 2020

RSA recalls that, contrary to the data previously published by the Asylum Service, Eurostat statistics count inadmissibility decisions as negative decisions. This includes decisions dismissing applications on grounds such as the “safe third country” concept or subsequent claims without new elements.[1] As a result, the calculation of the rate of positive decisions based on Eurostat figures does not accurately represent the recognition rate of in-merit asylum authorities’ decision-making.

According to statistics released in a Ministry of Migration and Asylum information note, the percentage of “positive decisions” was at 34% during the third quarter of 2020. These numbers are contradicted by the official data provided by the Greek government to Eurostat, which point to a first instance recognition rate to 53.5% for that quarter.

Nevertheless, the rate of positive decisions issued by the Asylum Service decreased between the second and third quarter of the year. More specifically, the number of negative decisions issued to Syrian nationals more than doubled from 1,060 to 2,195 during that period.

In addition, statistics reveal a notable shift in the type of protection granted, with an increase in subsidiary protection grants by the Asylum Service. This notably concerns nationals of Afghanistan who account for more than 75% of first instance subsidiary protection decisions granted this year. Out of positive decisions on asylum claims by Afghan nationals, the grant of subsidiary protection is higher than refugee status.

Drawing on the above figures, RSA reiterates that:

  1. The majority of people seeking asylum are assessed by the authorities to be in need of international protection, with official data calling into question statements to the contrary.
  2. Substantial discrepancies persist between the data presented by the Ministry information notes and reports to international organisations and EU statistics, which render the need to resume publication of detailed Asylum Service statistics all the more pressing.

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  1. However, according to its Technical Guidelines, Eurostat does not count Dublin decisions as negative decisions.

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