Silent Migrant Crisis: French Asylum Requests Approached Pre-Pandemic Records in 2022

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 11: A refugee holds a banner while taking shelter from the cold at
Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Statistics from the French refugee office Ofpra have revealed that France saw around 131,000 asylum requests in 2022, a number approaching the record numbers seen prior to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

The 131,000 asylum applications are just short of the 132,000 applications seen in 2019, the year prior to the pandemic and the year that set the record for asylum claims in France. The 2022 numbers are also a 27 per cent jump from those seen in 2021.

Afghan nationals were the highest-represented nationality in the 2022 asylum claim statistics at 17,000 applications for refugee status, a 37 per cent increase from the prior year, according to Ofpra, whose statistical release laid out the details.

Bangladeshi nationals made up the second largest number of asylum applicants at 8,600, followed by 8,500 Turkish nationals, 8,100 Georgians and 5,900 from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While many migrants enter France through the Central Mediterranean route through Italy or the Balkan migrant route, an increasing number are reaching France by first flying to South America.

According to a report from the broadcaster Franceinfo, the overseas French territory of French Guiana has seen an increase in migrants arriving from Arab countries after flying to Brazil and crossing the border by land and then applying for asylum in France.

France’s neighbour Switzerland has also released new statistics on illegal immigration this week, stating that 52,000 illegal entries had been detected in 2022, a number three times higher than in 2021.

Swiss authorities stated the vast majority of illegal migration came from the country’s borders with Austria and Italy, with Moroccans making up the largest share of illegals, followed by Afghans.

The increase in asylum claims is just part of the silent migrant crisis in Europe last year, which saw illegal entries into the European Union hit levels not seen since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015 and 2016, according to the European Union border agency Frontex.

Italy, which saw over 100,000 illegal entries in 2022, has continued to see a surge of illegal entries so far this year, reporting more migrants entering its territory in the first 17 days than in the same period in 2021 and 2022 combined.


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


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