The number of first time asylum seekers went slightly up again to almost 306 000 in the second quarter of 2016, with Syrians continuing to be the most numerous, according to data released today by Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency.

During the second quarter of 2016 (from April to June 2016), 305 700 first time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the member states of the European Union, up by 6% compared with the first quarter of 2016 (when 287 100 first time applicants were registered).

With nearly 90 500 first time applicants between April and June 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU sember states, ahead of Afghans (50 300 first time applicants) and Iraqis (34 300). They represent the three main citizenships of first time asylum applicants in the EU member states over the second quarter 2016, accounting for almost 60% of all first time applicants.

The highest number of first time applicants was registered in Germany (with almost 187 000 first time applicants, or 61% of total first time applicants in the EU member states), followed by Italy (27 000, or 9%), France (17 800, or 6%), Hungary (14 900, or 5%) and Greece (12 000, or 4%). Among those member states with high numbers of asylum seekers, numbers of first time applicants in the second quarter 2016 more than doubled compared with the previous quarter in Greece (+132%) as well as in Hungary (+118%), and rose notably in Poland (+65%) and Spain (+37%). In contrast, decreases were recorded in particular in the Nordic member states – Denmark (-59%), Finland (-53%) and Sweden (-42%) – as well as in the Netherlands (-47%), Belgium (-44%) and Austria (-22%).

Compared with the population of each member state, the highest rate of registered first time applicants during the second quarter 2016 was recorded in Germany (2 273 first time applicants per million inhabitants), followed by Hungary (1 517), Austria (1 241) and Greece (1 113). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (2 applicants per million inhabitants), Romania (11), Portugal (15), Lithuania (24), the Czech Republic and Estonia (both 26). In the second quarter 2016, there were in total 599 first time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.

At the end of June 2016, almost 1.1 million applications for asylum protection in the EU Member States were under consideration by the responsible national authority. A year earlier, at the end of June 2015, there were around 633 000.