Orders to leave the EU and returns up in Q4 2022

In the fourth quarter of 2022 (Q4 2022), there were 12 865 non-EU citizens ordered to leave an EU country (+11 % compared with Q3 2022), and 28155 non-EU citizens were returned to another country (including other EU countries) following an order to leave (+9 % compared with Q3 2022).

Compared with the same quarter of 2021, the number of non-EU citizens ordered to leave rose by 37 % and the number of people returned increased by 22 %.

This information comes from data on irregular migration and return published by Eurostat today. This article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article on returns of irregular migrants – quarterly statistics.


France: highest number of non-EU citizens ordered to leave

Among the EU members, France reported the largest number of non-EU citizens ordered to leave its territory in Q4 2022: 36835 people, representing almost a third of the total (30 %). France was followed by Croatia (19795; 16 %), Austria (8985; 7 %), Greece (8510; 7 %), Germany (7450; 6 %) and Italy (7000; 6 %).

Compared with the previous quarter, Bulgaria was the EU member that registered the highest relative increase in the number of people ordered to leave (+537 %), jumping from 510 in Q3 2022 to 3235. Ireland also almost tripled in the same period, from 145 to 415 (+191 %).

In terms of citizenship of the people ordered to leave, Afghans (13240; 11 % of total people ordered to leave) topped the list, followed by Moroccans (9470; 8 %) and Algerians (8510; 7 %).

13% of total returns in the EU reported by France

In the case of non-EU citizens returned to another country following an order to leave, France also reported the largest number of non-EU citizens returned in Q4 2022 (3790; 13 % of the total of returns), followed by Germany (3545; 13 %), Sweden (2625; 9 %), and Czechia (2605; 9 %).

Compared with the previous quarter, Czechia registered the highest increase in relative terms (+262 %), from 720 returns to 2605.

Syrians (2980; 11 % of total returns) topped the list of non-EU citizens who returned to another country in Q4 2022, followed by Georgians (2515; 9 %) and Albanians (2425; 9 %).

For more information:

Methodological notes: 

  • Data presented in this news article and Statistics Explained article come from the new data collection launched in 2021, with Q1 2021 as the first reference period.
  • Data presented in this news article are rounded.
  • Q4 2022 data on returns are estimated using last available period for Belgium.
  • A gap can be noted between the number of persons ordered to leave and the number of persons effectively returned, which can be explained mainly by an appeal of the decision, the procurement of a residence permit or the escape of the persons ordered to leave. More generally, some differences are also explained for administrative reasons, for example if a person is ordered to leave in December of year N, but returned in February of year N+1, or apprehended to be illegally present in year N, but granted asylum in year N+1. Due to differences in national administrative procedures in migration law enforcement and methodological aspects related to compilation of data in this area, the number of persons ordered to leave in a year shall not be directly related with the number of persons returned in the same reference period.
  • Statistics on the irregular migration and returns exclude outgoing asylum seekers who are transferred from one EU Member State to another under the mechanism established by the Dublin Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1560/2003 and Regulation (EU) No 604/2013); these cases are covered by Dublin statistics.

www.ec.europa.eu/eurostat /