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Rise in EU asylum claimants amid toughening migration policies

New data from the EU asylum agency shows an 18% increase in asylum applications in 2023 over the preceding year, and the highest number of applicants – 1.14 million – since 2015-2016. Syrian nationals were again the highest number, 38% up on 2022, while the second highest number of asylum seekers in 2023 came from Afghanistan, although that figure was down 11% on the preceding year. Applications from Turkish nationals were up 82%, while there was a notable uptick in claims from Palestinans (61.5%), mostly towards the end of the year. Germany was, again, the leading destination, receiving nearly a third of all applicants. Many of those claiming asylum in the EU take dangerous journeys to cross the Mediterranean Sea. In January, the EU's border protection agency, Frontex, registered the highest rise in irregular border crossings in almost a decade, mostly across the Mediterranean and 20% of them women and children. As more people seek to migrate, migration policies are also becoming tougher, driving people onto more dangerous routes. In this podcast episode, The New Humanitarian’s Migration Editor Eric Reidy breaks down why migration deaths are expected to increase in 2024 and explores policies that could reverse this ever-rising number.

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