Budapest, Hungary – According to the EU’s statistical office, Visegrad Group countries from Central Europe received less than 2,500 first-time requets from asylum seekers during the first half of the year, amounting to less than 1% of the total applications registered in the EU.
Over 300,000 first-time applicants in the EU in first half of 2019
According to Eurostat, which released last week the bloc’s latest asylum figures, EU member states received a total number of 307,000 first-time asylum applications between January and June, including 149,000 during the second quarter.
From April to June, Germany was the EU country that received the most applications (33,000, or 22% of the total), followed by France (19%) and Spain (19%), all three countries accounting for over 60% of the total number in the entire bloc.
Most of the applicants during the second quarter of 2019 came from Syria (11%, or more than 16,200), Venezuela, Afghanistan (7% each), Colombia, Iraq (5% each), Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Georgia and Iran (4% each).
Moreover, over 880,000 asylum applications for international protection were still pending at the time the data was released – most of them in Germany (40% of the total), Spain (14%), Greece (9%), Italy (8%) and France (7%).
Central Europe accounts for less than 1% of total asylum applications
Central Europe – Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary – as a whole only received 2,475 first-time applications from asylum seekers during the first six months of the year.
This amounts to roughly 38 first-time applications per million population (compared to an EU average ratio of nearly 300 per 1,000,000) and 0.8% of the total number of applications (bearing in mind the V4 roughly accounts for 12% of the EU’s population).
Among Visegrad countries, Poland was the one that received the most applications in absolute terms (1,280 during the first half of the year, or 33 per million people), followed by the Czech Republic (865, or 81 per million people, the highest rate among V4 countries).
This, however, doesn’t tell the whole story of extra-EU immigration in the vocally anti-immigration Visegrad countries, which have been forced to look for workers abroad to fill its labour shortages: Poland, for instance, was the EU’s main provider of first residence permits to non-EU nationals in 2018, while Hungary recorded the highest increase that same year.