France sees number of asylum requests hit record high

The Local France
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France sees number of asylum requests hit record high
Photo: AFP

A record number of requests for asylum were made in France in 2017, new stats reveal, with the country receiving more than 100,000 applications for the first time.


The historic rise in applications was revealed by figures released by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees (OFPRA)
France registered 100,412 applications in 2017 which came mostly from Albanians, Afghans and Africans. 
This number represents a jump of 17 percent compared to 2016, which was already up 6.5 percent on the number of applications in the previous year. 
On top of that, in 2015 applications increased by 22 percent during a year which saw an unprecedented number of people coming to Europe to claim asylum, according to a report in Le Parisien.  
However Pascal Brice, director general of OFPRA told Le Parisien that this "sustained" increase is "not representative of an inundation". 
Although Brice said the figures confirm that "France is one of the top countries for asylum applications in Europe" while noting that France has a way to go before it hits the number of requests seen by Germany which expects just short of 200,000 cases this year.
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Photo: AFP
Of these applications received by France in 2017, 36 percent resulted in the applicant receiving refugee status compared to 38 percent in 2016.
The rise in asylum requests filed by Albanian and West African nationals has seen a particularly sharp rise. 
Although Albania is on the list of  "safe countries of origin", in 2016 Albanians accounted for the largest proportion of applications, making 7,630 requests (excluding accompanying minors). 
This represented an increase of 66 percent. 
The second largest number of requests came from Afghans, with 5,987 requests (up 6 percent) followed by Haitian nationals whose requests remained stable at 4,934.
Sudanese applications decreased by 24 percent to 4,486 in 2017, while Guinean applications numbered 3,780 (up 62 percent). 
Meanwhile the average waiting time for the requests to be processed "fell to almost three months," according to Brice. 
OFPRA, he assured, "continues its efforts to achieve in 2018 the goal of two months" set by French President Emmanuel Macron in July, "in strict compliance with the rights of each applicant."


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