France sees near-record 137,000 migrant asylum applications in 2022

First-time asylum applications rose to near pre-pandemic levels in France in 2022, with over 137,000 migrants applying for international protection in the country that year.

Authorities in France have reported that asylum applications in France increased in 2022 after a lull over the COVID pandemic, with just over 137,000 migrants claiming international protection in the country for the first time last year.

Other EU countries have reportedly seen significant spikes, with Germany seeing the highest number of asylum applications since the 2016 migrant crisis, while even Ireland – an island nation in the far west of the European continent – has struggled to cope with the surge of foreign arrivals. .

According to the data released by the French Ministry of the Interior on Thursday, a total of 137,046 asylum applications were made in 2022, representing a 31.3 percent increase in the number of asylum applications compared to 2021. The number is also higher than the preliminary figures indicated. out by the Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless people (Ofpra) earlier this month, which put the figure at around 131,000.

The number falls just short of first-time asylum applications in 2019, when asylum applications peaked at just over 138,000. But when including all cases, such as re-examinations, minors and those used under the Dublin Regulation, it actually surpassed the pre-pandemic record, with a total 156,103 applications registered in 2022 compared to 151,283 in 2019.

Afghans were the largest single population seeking asylum in the country in 2022, with a total of 22,570 migrants claiming to be from the now Taliban-ruled nation seeking international protection in the country.

Bangladesh was the second largest provider of migrants, with just over 10,554 people seeking asylum from the country, while there were also significant numbers of applicants from migrants from Turkey, Georgia, Albania and Nigeria.

Despite the record numbers, some authorities in France are apparently trying to give the impression that they are getting on top of the crisis by increasing deportations.

According to a report from Le Figarothe country’s interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, took to Twitter to brag about the growing number of migrants being deported from France, which reportedly increased by 15 percent compared to last year.

“In accordance with my instructions, criminal aliens have been prioritized: 3,615 criminal aliens were deported in 2022, against 1,834 in 2021,” claimedand notes that this was “twice as many” as last year.

However, an increase of 15 percent is not so impressive considering that overall asylum applications increased by over 30 percent, which largely wiped out any gains the French government has made by assuming a similar proportion of deportations to asylum seekers as in previous years.

The French government is not the only authority that now appears to be aiming to look tough on immigration, with even the European Commission in Brussels pushing for a bloc-wide increase in migrant removals.

With the likes of France, Germany, Ireland and many others seeing a significant rise in asylum applications in 2022, the commission has demanded that the EU join forces to increase the number of migrants deported from the bloc annually.

“We are now experiencing an increase in irregular arrivals,” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said at a press conference earlier this week, describing the latest wave of migrants as a danger to the EU’s ability to care for genuine refugees.

“Of course, those who are not eligible to stay in the EU must be returned to their country of origin,” she concluded.

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