The number of migrants lodging asylum applications in the EU has jumped 28 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, official figures released Tuesday showedç APA reports citing The Daily Star.
Between January and the end of June this year, there were 519,000 such requests made in the 27-nation bloc and associated countries Switzerland and Norway, the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) said.
That puts the EU on track to receive more than one million asylum-seekers this year -- the biggest number since 2015-2016 when it saw a huge influx, mainly Syrians fleeing the war in their country.
In 2015, the bloc received 1.35 million asylum requests, then in 2016 there were 1.25 million more applications.
Numbers dropped in 2017 after the EU did a deal with Türkiye to have it clamp down on irregular border crossings, and during the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021 when travel restrictions were in place.
Numbers have since rebounded, with 2022 seeing a 53-percent rise in applications, putting many EU countries "under pressure," the EUAA said.
Accommodation and support is already stretched thin in many cases as several EU countries are hosting four million Ukrainian refugees who benefit from a protection status separate from asylum because of Russia's war on their country.
Syrians and Afghans account for nearly a quarter of asylum applications received so far this year.