UK and France now more popular than Sweden for asylum applicants

UK and France now more popular than Sweden for asylum applicants
The number of asylum applications in Sweden has dropped significantly since 2015, when the country received a record amount. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Seven EU nations have received more asylum applications than Sweden during 2017, according to new figures from EU stats office Eurostat.

The Nordic nation has gone from being the third most popular country for applicants to seek asylum in during 2015 (when Germany was most popular, followed by Hungary), to the eighth most popular by the first quarter of 2017.

During the first three months of 2017 Germany registered 49,000 applications, the highest number, followed by Italy (36,900), France (22,000), Greece (16,500) and the UK (8,400). Sweden meanwhile registered 4,380 in that period. That's 43 percent less than the same quarter in 2016, when Sweden registered 7,710 applications.

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The Nordic nation now receives 444 applicants per million in the population. Greece saw the highest rate of applications relative to its population during the first quarter of 2017 (1,534 per million), followed by Cyprus (1,308 per million), Luxembourg (1,175 per million) and Malta (884).

Across the EU as a whole there were 322 first-time asylum applicants per million inhabitants.

Sweden has tightened its asylum policy significantly since receiving a record number of asylum applications in 2015, including the introduction of border controls in the south of the country and temporary residence permits for those offered protection, instead of permanent permits as had previously been the case.

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