Cyprus is among the countries with the highest number of registered first-time asylum applicants in 2016 compared with the size of its population, a Eurostat study published on Thursday revealed.
In Cyprus an increase of 35 per cent was recorded from 2015, when 2,105 applied to 2016 when the figure was 2,840.
The highest number was recorded in Germany with 8,789 first time applicants per million inhabitants, ahead of Greece (4,625), Austria (4,587), Malta (3,989), Luxembourg (3,582). The lowest numbers were observed in Slovakia where there were just 18 applicants per million inhabitants, followed by Portugal with 69.
In 2016, some 1.21m first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the EU, a number slightly down from 2015 when 1.25 first-time applicants were registered but almost double that of 2014 when the number was 562,700.
Syrians (334,800), Afghans (183,000) and Iraqis (127,000) remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU in 2016, accounting for slightly more than half of all first-time applicants.
In total, Syrians represented the main citizenship of asylum seekers in 13 EU member states, and Cyprus was no exception. Of last year’s 2,840 applicants, 1,165 were from Syria, 225 from Somalia and 205 from Pakistan.