Asylum applications skyrocketed 593 pct in November

Asylum applications skyrocketed 593 pct in November

Figures published on Thursday by the Greek Asylum Service showed that the number of applications for protection spiked by 593 percent in November compared with the monthly average for 2015.

Last month, the service received 7,625 asylum applications, compared with an average of 1,100 per month in 2015, with the biggest rises noted in applications by women (933 percent) and unaccompanied children (711 percent).

In geographical terms, the biggest spike in requests in November was noted in the northern port city of Thessaloniki (1,514 percent), on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos (824 percent) and in the northeastern region of Thrace (402 percent), all of which are host to migrant facilities hosting thousands of asylum seekers. In the Greek capital, the rise in asylum applications was comparatively low at 62 percent.

The previous months also saw large numbers of applications, with 5,125 in September and 6,268 in October, while for the 11-month period from January, the Asylum Service said it had received a total of 27,812 requests from men, 16,563 from women and 2,072 from unaccompanied minors.

The majority of applicants were Syrian nationals (23,649), followed by Pakistanis (4,066), Iraqis (4,055) and Afghans (3,295). However, the biggest increase in terms of nationality compared with 2015 was recorded among Palestinians (1,800 percent), Iraqis (1,500 percent) and Algerians (1,373 percent), with requests from Syrians growing by 1,134 percent.

In 2016 up to November, the Asylum Service received 6,522 applications for review. It granted refugee status to a total of 2,255 applicants in the initial review and 186 in the secondary phase.

Rejections came to 6,036 in the first phase and 1,289 in the second, while pending first-review applications by November 30 stood at 25,142.

On the first review level, the Asylum Service granted refugee status to 99 percent of Syrian applicants, 98 percent of Palestinians, 65 percent of Iraqis, 53 percent of Iranians and 48 percent of Afghans.

In terms of the program for relocation to other European Union countries, the Asylum Service received 18,448 applications by November 27 and processed 11,915 of these, with 9,124 getting the green light and 602 being rejected. Some 5,800 refugees had been transferred in that period, while another 6,543 had been assigned to scheduled flights.

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