France Saw Record Breaking 123,000 Asylum Applications in 2018


Final figures on asylum requests in France for 2018 have been released this week showing another record-breaking year with numbers higher than previously estimated.

According to figures released Wednesday by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA), 123,625 people had applied for asylum in 2018, a 22.7 per cent increase from 2017 which had also been a record-breaking year.

The figures, reported by French newspaper Le Figaro, are also higher than a previous estimate released in January by the French Interior Ministry which had claimed the number of applications stood slightly lower at 122,743.

OFPRA reported that “46,700 people have been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection” and noted that the level had never been reached before.

Afghan asylum seekers made up the largest single nationality among those claiming asylum in 2018, up 55 per cent from the previous year. OFPRA explained the rise was attributed to the ongoing violence in the provinces, where the asylum seekers originate, carried out by groups like Islamic State and other radical jihadists as well as expulsions of Afghans from Iran and Pakistan.

Georgians saw the largest increase with 7,005 people applying for asylum, an increase of 256 per cent.

The figures likely do not encompass the full number of migrants who entered France as asylum seekers in 2018 as they do not count Dublin agreement migrants who may have already applied for asylum in another European Union member state.

Last year, it was reported that the number of illegal migrants living in the suburbs of Paris alone, could run as high 400,000, around 20 per cent of the total population of the area.

The number of asylum applications in France is starkly contrasted by the massive reduction of newly arrived migrants in neighbouring Italy where the policies of populist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has reduced the numbers by more than 90 per cent.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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