The number of people seeking asylum and the number of registered refugees are both on the decline in developed states, according to a new OECD report. But despite the decline in asylum seekers, humanitarian migration on the whole remains at a historically high level.
The number of asylum requests submitted in developed countries around the world declined sharply in 2018: The number of applications submitted in the 36-member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) dropped by 34% to 1.09 million last year, as compared to 1.65 million in 2016.
According to the latest OECD report, the drop in asylum applications also translated into a decline in the number of registered refugees — from about 900,000 permits granted in 2016 across all OECD countries to 700,000 in 2017.
It also said that refugees represented 14% of permanent migrants to the OECD in 2018, with most of them coming from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Venezuela.
OECD warns that public perception remains skewed
With 254,000 applications, the United States was the biggest single destination for asylum seekers last year. However, the number of asylum requests declined by 23.3% compared to 2017. Germany meanwhile received 162,000 applications, and Turkey 83,000.
But despite this decline in asylum seekers, humanitarian migration remained at a 'historically high level,' according to the OECD. The report also said that OECD member states received 5.3 million new permanent immigrants in 2018, marking a two-percent rise in legal migration over 2017.
"In a number of countries, a common public perception is that migration is uncontrolled and costly," the OECD said, adding that while there was little evidence to support these views, it would be a mistake to ignore people's fears, the report warned.
The OECD stressed that a recent European study found that 60% of respondents did not feel they were well informed about immigration and integration.