Migrants in the La Chapelle neighborhood in northern Paris | Photo: Mehdi Chebil
Migrants in the La Chapelle neighborhood in northern Paris | Photo: Mehdi Chebil

A record number of over 100,000 requests for asylum were filed in France last year. Albanese, Guineans and Haitians count among the top applicants even though they have little chance of being granted a refugee status.

France registered a record number of 100,412 asylum applications in 2017, according to official statistics released by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees (OFPRA). That's a 17 percent increase compared to 2016. 

7,630 requests were filed by Albanian citizens, 5,987 by Afghans, 4,934 by Haitians, 4,486 by Sudanese, 3,780 from Guineans and 3,249 from Syrians.

A total of nearly 43,000 persons were granted a refugee status by OFPRA in 2017.

The number of asylum seekers from Albania was significantly higher in 2017 - with two times more applicants than in the previous year. Only 6.5 percent of Albanians received a refugee status, because OFPRA considers their home country, a small southern European nation, safe.

More Afghan "Dubliners" from Germany

The number of asylum applicants from Guinea also rose significantly - by 62 percent from 2016 to 2017 . OFPRA did not release the number of Guineans that did receive asylum in 2017, but in 2016, that figure was 28 percent.

The number of applications from Haitians remained stable (almost 5,000). Only 2.8 percent of people from the central American country were given asylum. 

Just like in 2016, Afghans represented the second largest nation to apply for refugee status in France. Their asylum approval rate was at 83 percent. OFPRA said that the number of Afghan "Dubliners" coming from Germany increased. The term refers to asylum seekers who are sent from one EU-country to another because the latter country is considered responsible for the asylum seeker under the Dublin Regulation

Fewer requests from Syria

The number of asylum requests from Syrians was 10 percent lower in 2017 compared to the previous year, likely because Syrians often came to France through a resettlement plan. Citizens of the war-torn country have a 95 percent rate of protection in France.

The number of Sudanese requests also fell by 24 percent drop compared to 2016. Their approval rate is 59.6 percent.

OFPRA noted, however, a significant increase of requests coming from francophone and West African countries including Ivory Coast (two times more than 2016) and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The average waiting period for asylum seekers in France “fell to three months, which is two times shorter than in January 2015”, said OFPRA, adding that they were committed to pursue its efforts in order to reach the two-month waiting period goal set by president Emmanuel Macron.


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