First-time asylum seekers in EU rise to about 360,000

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Brussels, Dec 15 (IANS) During the third quarter of this year, 358,300 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the European Union (EU), according to a report issued by Eurostat on Thursday.

The figure is 17 per cent higher compared with the second quarter of 2016, when 305,700 first-time applicants were registered, the statistical office of the EU said.

From January to September 2016, more than 950,000 first-time asylum seekers were registered in the EU member states, said the report.

With 87,900 first-time applicants between July and September 2016, Syrians remained the main citizenship of people seeking international protection in the EU, ahead of Afghans (62,100 first-time applicants) and Iraqis (36,400).

During the third quarter, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with 66 percent of total first time applicants), followed by Italy (10 percent), France (six percent), Greece (four percent), Britain (three percent) and Austria (two percent), according to the report.

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