Close to 900,000 asylum seekers in the EU are waiting to have their claims processed, according to figures from the European statistics office.
Women, men and unaccompanied children are living for years in uncertainty, with numbers of pending applications for international protection almost unchanged from two years ago when 1.1 million migrants were “stuck” in the continent.
“Living in limbo is now the norm for those seeking protection,” said Karl Kopp of Pro Asyl, Germany’s largest pro-immigration advocacy organisation. “Limbo means living in the miserable Greek EU hotspots, or being trapped and pushed back at the borders. It means living in the desperate search for protection and human dignity.”
Eurostat figures have revealed a backlog of 878,600 requests at the end of 2018, with Germany having the largest share of pending requests (44%), ahead of Italy (12%). The figure comes despite the number of migrant arrivals in Europe practically halving in the last two years.
Factors leading to the continuing backlog include new laws from right-leaning governments and an increase in the number of rejections, leading to lengthy appeals processes.
“The vision of governments on the migration crisis has changed and more and more countries are rejecting an increasing number of requests for asylum,” said Fulvio Vassallo, an expert on asylum law from the University of Palermo.
The rejection rate for asylum requests in Europe has almost doubled in three years, from 37% in 2016 to 64% in 2019. In Italy, rejections were at 80% at the start of 2019, up from 60% the previous year as the populist government also removed key forms of protection. [Continue reading…]