Trends in EU Migration 2015–2016
Posted on August 4, 2016
With the state of chaos in the EU region, we discuss the latest trends in EU migrations. It is reported that close to one million (and counting) refugees and migrants have crossed European borders in 2015, which has created a state of chaos in some countries due to the surge in migrations. This has caused a great divide across the EU region on the best manner to tackle the emerging immigration crisis. Most migrants to the EU are arriving through land or sea routes and are of Turkish and Albanian origin. According to the UNHCR statistics, a total of 135,711 migrants have moved to Europe by sea since 2016.
1. Countries of Origin:
The Syrian conflict has been the biggest reason for mass migrations to EU region so far. However, the EU region also receives migrants from countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Eritrea which are plagued by conflicts, poverty and human rights violations.
2. Countries where migrants are going:
Not all migrants who move to the EU claim an asylum status; however, statistics show that Germany ranks the highest with regard to application for asylums – more than 476,000 applicants for 2015. Hungary ranked second with 177,130 applications for asylum from migrants who arrived via land by crossing the Western Balkans and Greece.
3. How do Migrants arrive in Europe?
According to the IOM (International Organization for Migration) statistics for 2015; close to 34,900 people arrived by land, with the remaining 1,011,700 plus migrants choosing to arrive by sea. In the year 2014, the number of migrants arriving by land and sea was close to 280,000; however the statistics of people who arrive illegally is unaccounted for. Frontex, the external border force for the EU region is responsible for monitoring the routes by which migrants arrive along with the definitive numbers of migrants. According to Frontex the number of migrants who entered the EU region was close to 1,800,000 for the year 2015. Migrants to Greece mostly traverse through the island of Kos, Samos, Lesvos and Chios, originating mostly from the region of Turkey and travel in wooden boats and rubber dinghies.
4. Total number of migrations to EU for the years 2014-2015 and the dangers associated en route:
Over 3,770 migrants arriving in the EU region through the Mediterranean Sea route in 2015 have died en route as per IOM statistics. A majority of migrants died en route from Northern Africa to Italy and close to 800 plus migrants died while crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece. Summers have the most migrant deaths due to fatalities occurring due to the rush for EU region. April 2015 was the
worst in terms of mishaps during migration as close to 800 migrants travelling from Libya drowned due to an overcrowded boat capsizing at sea.
5. EU countries most affected by migration:
Germany has the highest numbers of asylum seekers for the year 2015, with Hungary reporting higher number of migrants in comparison to the country’s population. Hungary had this influx even after closing its borders with Croatia back in October 2015. Close to 1,800 migrants to Hungary for every 100,000 Hungarian sought asylum during the year 2015. This was followed by 1,667 migrant asylum seekers per 100,000 citizens in Sweden. Germany recorded 587 and the UK recorded 60 migrant asylum seekers for every 100,000 citizens respectively. The average number of migrants to the EU came close to 260 migrants for every 100,000 citizens.
6. EU’s response to the Migration Influx:
Countries like Hungary, Italy and Greece and many others are in a state of chaos due to the disproportionate number of migrants entering the country’s borders as the system is not equipped to handle such large influxes of population. In September 2015, EU ministers voted by the majority to distribute 160,000 migrants across the EU in a uniform order; however the plan is applicable only to Greece and Italy. Close to 54,000 migrants were slotted for redistribution among other EU nations; however, the Hungarian government decided to work on a relocation scheme in order to receive more migrants from Greece and Italy.
Post Brexit, the UK has closed all plans for the migrant quota system; however, according to the figures published by the British Home Office, close to 1,000 migrants from Syria have been relocated in the UK under its “Vulnerable Persons Relocation” Program during 2015. David Cameron in his statement had mentioned that Britain would bring in another 20,000 Syrian migrants in the coming five years, but with the change in PM the numbers remain uncertain.
7. Number of Asylum Seekers who are actually relocated:
Amongst the growing number of asylum seekers, acceptance rates of their applications have been fairly lower. Close to 292,540 migrant settlements were approved across the EU region during 2015 with more than a million applications for asylum. This could also e due to the long processing times for converting asylum seekers from the refugee to citizen status which means that the approvals could be for applications that were received long time ago!
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