In 2021, EU Member States granted protection status to 267 360 asylum seekers, down by 5 % compared with 2020 (281 055). Syrians received the highest number of protection status in the EU last year with 69 140, followed by Afghans (53 605).
Additionally, 23 255 asylum applicants were considered to be unaccompanied minors, up 72 % compared with 2020 (13 550). To a large extent, this increase was caused by the rise in the number of unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan (12 270 in 2021 compared to 5 495 in 2020).
This information comes from data on asylum applicants and unaccompanied minors published by Eurostat today. The article presents a selection of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article.
267 360 asylum seekers granted protection status in 2021
Among the 267 360 asylum seekers who were granted protection status in 2021 in the EU, 50 % were granted refugee status, 30% were given subsidiary protection and 19 % received humanitarian protection.
The highest share of persons who received protection status were registered in Germany (33 % of the EU total), ahead of France (17%), Italy (12%), Spain (8%), Austria and Greece (both 7 %).
Syrians, Afghans and Venezuelans – main beneficiaries of protection status
The largest group who obtained protection status in the EU in 2021 were Syrians (26 % of the total number of persons granted protection status in the EU). They were followed by Afghans (20 %) and Venezuelans (5 %).
23 255 unaccompanied minors sought asylum in 2021
Among the 23 255 unaccompanied minors who sought asylum in 2021, the majority (93 %) were male. 68 % were aged 16 to 17, while those aged 14 to 15 accounted for 23 % and those aged less than 14 for 9 %.
Austria accounted for 24 % of all asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors in the EU. It was followed by Germany, Bulgaria (both 14 %), Greece (10 %), Belgium and Romania (both 8 %).
In 2021, based on available data, 5 070 unaccompanied minors applying for asylum obtained protection status in the EU. Among these, 48% were given subsidiary protection, 34 % were granted refugee status and 18 % received humanitarian protection.
Afghan, Syrian and Bangladeshi: main citizenships of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum
The largest group of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors in the EU in 2021 were Afghans (53 % of the total number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the EU). They were followed by Syrians (16 %) and Bangladeshis (6 %).
For more information:
- Statistics Explained article on asylum annual data
- Statistics Explained article on children in migration – asylum applicants
- Dedicated section to migration and asylum
- Database on asylum
- Application for international protection means an application for international protection as defined in Art. 2(h) of Council Directive 2011/95/EU, i.e. including requests for refugee status or for subsidiary protection status, irrespective of whether the application was lodged on arrival at the border, or from inside the country, and irrespective of whether the person entered the territory legally (e.g. as a tourist) or illegally.
- Statistics on asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors presented in the article refer to the age of the minor accepted by the national asylum authority. Where a national authority carries out an age assessment procedure, the age reported shall be the one determined by the age assessment procedure.
- Since 2021, based on the amendment of Regulation (EC) 862/2007 from June 2020, new data on decisions issued to applications lodged by unaccompanied minors are collected by Eurostat. Due to temporary derogations, these data are not available for Cyprus, Lithuania and Poland for first instance and final decisions, and not available for France for final decisions. As a result, the respective totals were calculated based on available data for the EU Member States.
- Where relevant, data might not add up to 100% due to rounding.