By Lynne Kelleher, irishexaminer.com
Ireland is among the European countries who have taken in the fewest number of asylum seekers in recent years, according to a new report.
Syria was the country with the highest number of asylum seekers in the EU in 2015 and 2016.
The European Commission study reveals from 2016 to 2017, Ireland welcomed just over 5,000 asylum seekers — but this paled in comparison to the 72,500 which arrived into Britain.
In 2016, when Germany took in nearly 750,000 non-EU asylum seekers, Britain welcomed just under 40,000 while Ireland took in just 2,300.
The European Commission study revealed Germany recorded the largest number of non-EU asylum seekers with just under a million (920,000) coming over its borders in 2016 and 2017.
Ireland was near the bottom of the table, with Italy, France, Greece, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Netherlands and Belgium taking in substantially higher numbers.
Over the two-year period, Romania, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Denmark, and Hungary also took in greater numbers than Ireland.
Ireland was ahead of Portugal and most Eastern European countries on the table such as Croatia, Latvia, Estonia and Slovakia who was at the bottom of the table as the country only took a total of 300 asylum seekers in 2016 and 2017.
Of the 2,900 asylum seekers who arrived into Ireland from outside the EU in 2017, three out of ten were children while just under half of them were aged between 18 and 34 years of age.
The Eurostat figures are contained in the Eurydice Report Integrating Asylum Seekers and Refugees Education and Training.
It found that non-EU immigration into the European Union was particularly high in 2015 and 2016.
“During these two years, almost 2.6 million non-EU citizens applied for asylum in the EU, with Syria being their main country of citizenship.”
Syria was followed by Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of the countries with the number of asylum seekers in the EU. Around 50% are aged between 18 and 34 which is the age closely associated with higher education, according to the report.
The study found Germany stands out among all European countries as having the most comprehensive policy for the integration of asylum seekers and refugees into the German higher education system.