Report finds 72% increase in unaccompanied minors seeking EU asylum

Eurostat Wednesday published a report revealing the number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the EU has increased by 72% between 2020 and 2021.

The report by Eurostat, an organ of the European Commission, identifies an unaccompanied minor as a person under 18 who arrives on the territory of an EU Member State without an accompanying responsible adult, or who is left unaccompanied after arrival. In 2021, there were  23,300 applications from unaccompanied minors. This is an increase of 72% when compared to 2020. 

Of the 23,300 applications, 93% were male, therefore making up the majority. Those aged from 16 to 17 made up 68%, while those aged 14 to 15 accounted for 23% and those aged less than 14 for 9%. 

The report finds the increase is largely due to the situation in Afghanistan. There was an increase of 12,270 unaccompanied minors in 2021 from Afghanistan compared to 5,495 in 2020. In 2021, unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan accounted for 53% of the applications. 

In regard to the host countries, it was found that only three EU states (Bulgaria (85.0%), Romania (63.3%) and Slovakia (56.8%)) had rates above 50% for applications from unaccompanied minors when compared to all applications from minors.  Austria made up 24% of all asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors in the EU. Germany and  Bulgaria both made up 14%, Greece had 10% while both Belgium and Romania accounted for 8%.

However, the number of asylum seekers overall was down by 5% when compared to 2020.