UN Asylum Statistics for 2009

by The Asylumist Staff on March 26, 2010

The United Nations has released a new report on Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries for 2009.  Some of the report’s key findings:

Afghani Refugee
  • Compared to 2008, the overall number of asylum-seekers remained the same with 377,000 applications, despite significant regional disparities highlighted by the report.
  • Afghans topped the list of asylum applicants with 26,800 submissions representing a 45 per cent increase over 2008. Iraqis dropped to second place with some 24,000 claims, while Somalis moved to third position with 22,600 asylum applications. Among the top countries of origin were also the Russian Federation, China, Serbia, and Nigeria. 
  • In terms of regions of origin, nearly half of the total 377,000 applicants originate from Asia and the Middle East (45%), followed by Africa (29%), Europe (15.5%), and the Americas (9%).
  • The United States stayed the main destination country for the fourth year, with 13 percent of the claims representing an estimated 49,000 people, in particular from China. Second was France, receiving 42,000 new applications in 2009, a 19 percent hike compared to 2008, due to increasing claims from citizens of Serbia originating predominantly from Kosovo. Canada, while still ranking third among receiving countries, saw the number of asylum applications decrease by 10 percent in 2009 down to 33,000 after a drop in Mexican and Haitian claims. Following was The United Kingdom which also registered a drop in claims with 29,800 applications, one of the lowest in 15 years. On the other hand, claims in Germany increased by 25 percent with 27,600 applications recorded in 2009, making it the fifth largest receiving country. Together, these five top destination countries received 48 percent of the total claims recorded in 2009.
  • The overall stability in the number of asylum seekers belies regional increases and decreases.  For example, countries in southern Europe (like Italy, Turkey, and Greece) experienced a 33% decrease in the number of asylum seekers from 2008 to 2009.  The Nordic countries experiences a 13% increase and Australia and New Zealand reported increases of 30% over the previous year.  The United States experienced a small decrease (49,600 in 2008 compared with 49,000 in 2009), and Canada reported a 10% decrease.

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