The European countries with most asylum seekers MAPPED as UK comes in sixth

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Net immigration to the UK hit an all-time record high of 606,000 in 2022, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Some 46,000 arrived in the country illegally crossing the Channel in small boats – almost 25 times more than three years earlier.

With an annual daily record of 755 migrants making the journey set earlier this month, tackling the issue remains one of the most pressing of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s five key priorities.

The vast majority of these arrivals – 92 percent on average over the past five years – claim asylum: an application for refugee status that would, under international law, allow them to remain in the country. The UK received a total of 74,751 asylum applications last year.

These numbers sound substantial, and they are increasing, but a quick look at figures from European peers shows that the UK is far from the most sought-after destination.

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According to the European Council, 962,160 non-EU citizens applied for asylum in the bloc in 2022.

This is up 52 percent on 2021’s figure, but far below the 1,322,850 at the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015.

A quarter of all applications were made in Germany alone – the 243,835 total higher than anywhere else in the EU, and over three times more than the UK.

France came second with 156,455, followed by Spain (117,945), Austria (108,755) and Italy (84,290).

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Inserting the UK into this chart puts it in sixth position, ahead of Greece which received 37,375 asylum applications last year.

Greece has a population of 10.5 million, compared to 67.5 million for the UK. In terms of asylum seekers per head – a rough barometer of a country’s ability to assimilate refugees – Greece had a rate of 356 per 100,000. The UK figure is 113.

Austria tops the table in this regard, receiving 1,208 requests per 100,000 residents – a ratio over ten times higher than the UK.

This isn’t to say governments on the Continent don’t share the UK’s concern over mass immigration. 

Back in June, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, head of a centre-left coalition, said he wanted to “support and advance” a reform of the European asylum system. 

The country’s main opposition party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has long called for a tightening of German asylum laws as well as “reception and decision centers” on the EU’s external borders. 

According to the UN Refugee Council there are some 35.3 million refugees globally, forcibly displaced by “persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order.” 

Roughly 70 percent flee to countries neighbouring their place of origin.

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