Rabat – In 2017, France received a “historic” number of asylum seekers. Over 100,000 asylum applications were registered last year, an increase of 17 percent compared to 2016.
Director General of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA), Pascal Brice said that though this is not considered a “massive influx,” the number of asylum applications is still persistent.
“This confirms that France is among the first destinations for asylum seekers in Europe,” he said, especially behind Germany which received over 200,000 cases in 2017.
The vast majority of asylum seekers came from Albania, with 7,630 requests (excluding accompanying minors), recording an increase of 66 percent compared to 2016. OFRPA only granted asylum to 6.5 percent of the applicants.
The second country of origin is Afghanistan, which accounted for 5,987 of applications, up by 6 percent, with an admission rate of 83 percent.
Brice indicated that Afghan migrants who arrived in France last year are probably more numerous because of the large number of holders of double nationality among them.
Haitian nationals came in third, at 4.934 applications. The OFPRA also recorded a remarkable increase in the number of French-speaking and West African nationals, particularly Ivoiriens, whose number has more than doubled reaching 3,243 applications .
The number of asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo also recorded a considerable increase at 2.941, this rise is up by 15 percent compared to 2016.
“This reflects the phenomenon of crossings via Libya to Europe,” says the head of OFPRA.
Meanwhile, the numbers of Syrians who sought asylum in France last year, have decreased by 10 percent to 3,249 requests. The OFPRA did not make any mention of Moroccan asylum seekers.