Increasing number of asylum seekers in EFTA countries

Published 30-03-2015
37 000 people applied for asylum in one of the EFTA countries in 2014. This represents an increase of 11% from 2013, according to new data released by Eurostat.

The number of asylum applicants was highest in Switzerland at 23 600, followed by Norway at 13 200. In both countries the number increased by 11% from the previous year. In Iceland, 170 people applied for asylum in 2014; an increase of 36% from 2013, while the number of applicants in Liechtenstein increased by 18%, from 55 to 65.

The overall increase in asylum seekers in the European Union was 44% and, compared to 2013, the number more than doubled in Italy (an increase of 143%), Hungary (126%) and Denmark (105%). Germany was the country which in total received the most asylum seekers in Europe, with 202 600 applicants in 2014 (an increase of 60%).

Among all countries in Europe, Sweden stood out as having the most asylum seekers compared to its population, with a rate of 8.4 asylum applicants per thousand inhabitants. Then followed Hungary (4.3 applicants per thousand inhabitants), Austria (3.3), Malta (3.2), Switzerland (2.9) and Norway and Denmark (2.6). Liechtenstein’s and Iceland’s rates were 1.8 and 0.5 respectively, ranking them at numbers 12 and 19. The lowest rates of asylum seekers compared to population were found in Portugal, Slovakia and Romania.

In both Switzerland and Norway, the highest number of asylum seekers came from Eritrea, followed by Syria. In Iceland, Albanians constituted the largest group of applicants, and in Liechtenstein, Serbian citizens. In the EU, most applicants were from Syria, followed by Afghanistan and Kosovo.

For further information, see Eurostat's news release 53/2015 and the dedicated website on Asylum statistics.

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