EASO cites Ukrainian “Asylum spike”……such as it is.

October 21, 2015

In an article published by EurActiv, the EASO (European Asylum Support Office) cites a spike in asylum applications by Ukrainians.

“”Last year, the total number of asylum applicants to the EU plus Switzerland and Norway, (called the EU+) was 660,000.  Of them 220,000 came from the Mediterranean, so 440,000 must have entered via different places.  This is important to realise.” – Robert K. Visser.

What is specific to Ukraine, Visser explained, is that it was not an “asylum country” before the start of the hybrid war.

What makes Ukraine completely different from the other countries cited is that all Ukrainians arrive in the EU legally, having obtained a visa, or file their asylum application having already resided legally in the EU, often with a work permit. Visser recognized that EASO had no information, and that there was no way to measure immigration via legal entry.

Unlike any other nationality, Ukrainians who file an asylum application do it all across the EU, and not in one or two specific countries of destination.

“The Ukrainian community is the most diversified community that we know.  There are Ukrainians in all parts of Europe,” Visser said.  He added that most of them were working people with permits, residing in a legal way, some of which at some point, “seeing what happened back home” decide that they don’t want to return.”

Something of a novelty then – Ukrainian asylum seekers within the EU+ reporting nations were there legally to begin with, having been granted visas, or having existing and lawfully acquired residency.

Hordes of Ukrainians without Visas therefore did not sneak across the borders even during the worst of the fighting, significant military mobilisation, and large scale internal displacement to then claim asylum?  Seemingly not.

If what is said is accurate, then Ukrainian asylum seekers for the most part do it all legally and politely from within the EU+ nations they were already lawfully within.  (How that conjures an image of decorum amongst asylum seekers.)

“If Ukrainians represent next to 3% of the total number of asylum applicants to the EU, Russia is following closely, being the next in line with 2% of the total. 

The recognition rate of asylum application from Ukraine nationals in EU countries, which was of 21% in 2014, may appear low compared to Syrians’, which is 95%. But charts suggest that the rate of approval is growing as the conflict persists.”

So what do those percentages mean?

Not much due to a lack of statistical depth – but prima facie, based upon the figures cited by the Eurocrats within the article, if Ukrainians account for almost 3% of EU+ asylum applications then 660,000 x 3% = 19800 Ukrainians applying for asylum (with the majority already lawfully working or having residency within the EU+ nations, the Eurocrats state).

If the recognition rate of these applications is 21% as cited, then 19800 x 21% = 4158 Ukrainians that successfully were granted asylum in 2014.

4158 Ukrainians being granted asylum clearly raises no eyebrows amongst the EU+ nations – for they all continue to issue visas to Ukrainians.

Indeed, presumably most of the others that applied and were refused asylum probably still remain within the EU+ nations when considering the Eurocrats statements that the majority that applied were lawfully there anyway.

business man shrug

Perhaps the number of applications, successful or otherwise, is the wrong way to look at things?

Perhaps there are questions to be asked about why the number of applications is so low considering the circumstances Ukraine and its population find themselves in during the reporting period of 2014, despite all manner of visas continuing to be issued by every European nation?

Is it a reflection of the appeal of Europe as a permanent destination?

Is it a reflection upon how well the international agencies and Ukraine are managing to cope with the massive internal displacement within its borders?

Is it a reflection of how well events in The Donbas have been contained?

Is it a reflection upon how effective the Ukrainian (and EU) borders personnel have been?  (Only a few days ago Ukraine detained 9 Afghans attempting to enter the EU via Ukraine.)

Is it a reflection of the determination and willingness of Ukrainians to take the pain domestically, despite Kremlin efforts and an often feckless domestic political class?

Is it all of the above – and more?

Has “peak application” passed for the majority of applicants that were lawfully within the EU+ nations anyway?  If so will the 2015 figures released next year prove to have more applications than those of 2014 – or not?  Will the number of successful applications go up, regardless of whether the number of applications goes up or down?

Given all that Ukraine and its constituency went through in 2014 (and 2015), are the Ukrainian asylum figures with the EU+ nations more, or indeed less, than could have been expected?

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