Brussels, March 4 (IANS) About 1,255,600 asylum seekers applied for international protection in the European Union (EU) member states in 2015, a number more than double that of the previous year.
According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis represent the three main citizenships of first time asylum applicants in the EU member states in 2015, accounting for more than half of all first time applicants, Xinhua reported.
The number of Syrians seeking international protection has doubled in 2015 compared with the previous year to reach 362,800, while the number of Afghans has almost quadrupled to 178,200 and that of Iraqis has multiplied by seven to 121,500.
In 2015, the highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany, with 441,800 first time applicants, or 35 percent of all first time applicants in the EU Member States. The number was followed by Hungary, Sweden, Austria, Italy and France.
Compared with the previous year, the number of first time asylum applicants in 2015 increased the most in Finland, ahead of Hungary, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Germany.
At the end of 2015, 922,800 applications for international protection in the EU member states were still under consideration by the responsible national authority. The huge amount reflected the workload of the national authorities.
First time asylum applicant or seeker means a person having submitted an application for international protection or having been included in such application as a family member, for the first time.