Over 31,000 unaccompanied minor asylum seekers registered in the EU in 2017

Only five unaccompanied minor asylum seekers applied for international protection in Malta in 2017

In 2016, MOAS rescues 117 people (Photo:File)
In 2016, MOAS rescues 117 people (Photo:File)

Over 31,000 unaccompanied minor asylum seekers registered in the EU in 2017.

In 2017, 31,400 asylum seekers applying for international protection in the Member States of the European Union were considered to be unaccompanied minors.

Malta had one of the lowest minor asylum seekers applicants, with only five minor asylum seekers in 2017, 10 less than 2016.

This was nearly half the number recorded in 2016, which saw 63,200 unaccompanied minors registered and almost one-third of the peak registered in 2015 (95,200). However, it was over two and a half times higher than the annual average during the period 2008-2013 which recorded around 12,000 per year.

In total in the EU, unaccompanied minors accounted for 15% of all asylum applicants aged less than 18.

In 2017, a majority of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum were males (89%). Considering age, over two-thirds were aged 16 to 17 (77%, or about 24,200 persons), while those aged 14 to 15 accounted for 16% (around 5,000 persons) and those aged less than 14 for 6% (almost 2,000 persons).

Afghan continued to be the main citizenship of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors in the EU, with around 5,300 people.

In 2017, the highest number of asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors was registered in Italy, with over 10,000 unaccompanied minors, followed by Germany, Greece, the United Kingdom, Austria as well as Sweden  and the Netherlands.

Together these seven countries accounted for nearly 90% of all asylum applicants considered to be unaccompanied minors registered in the EU. Among these Member States, the number of asylum seekers considered to be unaccompanied minors rose compared with the previous year in Italy and increased slightly in. In contrast, decreases were recorded in Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, Sweden and the Netherlands.

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