More than half a million people applied for asylum in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland in the first half of 2023, according to official data released on Tuesday.
The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) said it received 519,000 requests for asylum between January and June — a 28% increase compared to last year.
It's also the highest number since the same period in 2016, when a large number of Syrians fled the country's civil war.
"Based on current trends, applications could exceed 1 million by the end of 2023," the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) said in a statement.
What nationalities are seeking asylum in Europe?
Syrians fleeing violence and unrest continue to be the biggest group seeking asylum in Europe, with 67,000 applications made in the first half of 2023.
That figure represents a 47% increase compared to last year.
The next main nationalities seeking protection in Europe are people from Venezuela, Turkey, Colombia, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
In the initial processing stage, 41% of applicants receive either refugee status or some other kind of protection.
Germany received 62% of asylum applications made by Syrians, while Venezuelans mostly submitted asylum applications in Spain, where many were granted humanitarian visas.
Millions of Ukrainians still in the EU
The EUAA said the number of Russian and Iranian nationals being granted protection has also increased compared to previous years.
It also noted that the increased in asylum applications does not count the estimated 4 million Ukrainians who fled the Russian invasion and settled in Europe under different protection schemes.
zc/dj (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)