Applications for asylum in European Union and associated states collapsed to a seven-year low in 2020, with coronavirus-imposed travel restrictions suggesting that some level of border control is, in fact, possible.
Some 461,3000 applications for asylum were lodged across the EU, Norway, and Switzerland in 2020 — a 31 per cent fall from 2019 and taking numbers to levels not seen since 2013, before the migrant crisis in the middle of the last decade.
The European Union blamed the decrease in applications on Covid-related “emergency measures, such as movement restrictions”.
Despite the significant fall, the reduction was not uniform, with arrivals from particular areas and at certain times of the year taking greater hits. Asylum applications from countries like Iran and Georgia fell much faster than the average, going down 61 per cent in 2020.
Syria was more stable, falling just nine per cent — perhaps a feature of the