Malta has the third highest number of first-time asylum applications relative to its size in the entire EU, new stats have revealed.
In 2018, Malta registered 2,035 first-time applicants, up from the 1,610 recorded in 2017.
Most of this year’s first time applicants come from Syria (455), followed by Somalia (310) and Libya (305).
On a wider European level, 580,800 asylum seekers applied for international protection, down by 11% compared with 2017 (654,600) and less than half of the number recorded in the peak year 2015 when 1 256,600 first-time asylum applicants were registered.
Syrians (80,900), Afghans (41,000) and Iraqis (39,600) continued to be the main citizenships of first-time asylum seekers, accounting for almost 30% of all first-time applicants.
Germany continues to receive the most of first-time applicants with 161,900; followed by France (110,500) Greece (65,000), Spain (52,700), Italy (49,200) and the United Kingdom (37,300).
Around 900,000 applications are still pending by the end of 2018.