Asylum statistics: survey 2023

Number of applications

In 2023, 35,507 persons filed an application for international protection with the Immigration Office (IO). This includes 284 persons who arrived in Belgium as part of resettlement.

As a result, the total number of applicants is slightly lower than in 2022, when 36,871 persons filed an application. This represents a decrease of 3.7 %. In the first 7 months of 2023, the number of applicants always amounted to less than 3,000 persons. From July through December, the 3,000 applicants mark was exceeded each time, with a peak in October (3,740 persons).

An average of 2,959 applicants per month were registered in 2023, against 3,073 in 2022.

In 2023, 67.6 % of the applicants were men; 32.4 % were women. For certain countries such as Afghanistan, the percentage of male applicants is even higher (89 %).

In 2023, the main countries from which the applicants for international protection originated, were Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Turkey and Eritrea.

In 2023, 5,918 persons filed a subsequent application for international protection. In terms of percentage, the proportion of subsequent applications compared to the total number of applications increased in comparison with the previous year (16.7 % in 2023 compared to 12.6 % in 2022). For certain top-10 countries such as Afghanistan (31.8 %) and Moldova (32.9 %), the proportion of subsequent applications remains remarkably high.

In 2023, the Immigration Office registered 2,594 applicants for international protection who declared to be unaccompanied foreign minors. This is a decrease of 32.7 % compared to 2022. After being assessed by the Guardianship Service, 1,660 persons were provisionally considered actual minors. Not all assessments have been completed yet. 87 % of the applicants for international protection who declared to be unaccompanied foreign minors, are boys. 26 % comes from Afghanistan, 18 % from Eritrea and 15 % from Syria.

More detailed information on the applicants can be consulted in de monthly statistics on international protection on the website of the Immigration Office.

Number of decisions

In 2023, the CGRS took 25,356 decisions for 29,885 persons. This is an increase of 23.6 % (in cases) compared to the previous year. This increase could be achieved through the recruitment of new protection officers, as a result of which the CGRS had an average of 15 % more available protection officers in 2023. In addition, the CGRS continued to focus on special actions to increase efficiency while maintaining the quality of decisions and taking into account the well-being of staff members.

In 2023, for 43.5 % of the final decisions, the CGRS considered that the applicant actually needed international protection status. As a result, the protection rate was slightly higher than the previous year (43.5 % in 2023 compared to 43 % in 2022).

42 % of these decisions were decisions granting refugee status and 1.5 % were decisions granting subsidiary protection status.

In 2023, The highest number of recognized refugee statuses in 2023 were granted to Syrians (2,689), Afghans (2,595), Eritreans (1,770) and Burundians (1,187). The highest number of subsidiary protection statuses were granted to Yemenis (152), Somalis (127), Syrians (57) and Iraqis (16).

The number of inadmissibility decisions (mainly subsequent applications and applications filed by persons who already obtained protection status in another EU member state) decreased compared to last year, although their percentage remains high: 15.8 % of all decisions. In 2022, this was still 17.9 %. These cases should be treated as a priority. Inadmissibility decisions left aside, the protection rate amounts to 52.3 %.

Despite the CGRS taking decisions for nearly 30,000 persons in 2023, the workload continued to increase to 26,525 cases (31,998 persons). This increase has two reasons. First, despite increased productivity, there were more applications than decisions on average every month in 2023. Secondly, the Immigration Office submitted considerably more cases to the CGRS. In 2023, this involved cases for more than 3,000 applicants per month.

12 January 2024

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