December 5, 2021


Only The Finest Women

Asylum-seeker recognition rates and EU asylum policy

In the last two decades, the number of applicants for political asylum has elevated steeply (Hatton 2020, 2021). With the exception of the disaster many years of 2015 and 2016, extra than fifty percent of asylum promises lodged in Europe have been turned down. Though unique countries have faced political pressures to decrease the inflows by imposing rigorous rules, the EU has been creating a Widespread European Asylum Program (CEAS) by means of a series of directives, which were subsequently transposed into national legislation.

The Qualification Directive (2004) and its recast version (2011) relate to the conditions for granting refugee status or subsidiary protection. The Treatments Directive (2005) and its recast version (2013) relate to the methods utilized in examining asylum statements. These established out minimum standards to shield the legal rights of refugees. 

The directives also aimed to harmonise plan throughout European nations and mitigate the so-known as asylum lottery. In the existence of other influences on recognition fees, these as the increase in the spread and depth of persecution in origin countries, it stays unclear how far these goals have been attained.

Trends and distinctions in recognition charges

Figure 1 shows the total recognition rate for 20 nations around the world that account for 90% of all asylum purposes in Europe from 2000 to 2018. These are ‘first instance’ recognition charges, which exclude conclusions resulting from appeals, administrative reviews, or repeat programs. The recognition fee involves all varieties of recognition, from complete refugee standing (underneath the 1951 Refugee Conference) to weaker kinds of recognition that confer less legal rights.

Figure 1 Asylum recognition price for 20 European nations, 2000–2018

Be aware: This is the general recognition amount (not the ordinary of place fees) for 20 international locations: Austria, Belgium, Czech Rep., Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Eire, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the British isles.

Two characteristics stand out. One is that, except for the crisis decades of 2015 and 2016, much less than fifty percent of the conclusions resulted in some sort of recognition. The ordinary of 30% would be close to 7 proportion details greater if thriving appeals and evaluations had been taken into account. But even so, extra than half of all purposes are ultimately rejected. Rejected candidates are expected to depart the country, although several vanish into the informal sector.

The next is that, contrary to well-known perception, there is a sturdy upward development in the in general recognition price. Even though the disaster years stand out, recognition charges had been increasing even just before the 2011 Arab Spring, and they remained historically significant even following the instant disaster yrs. This could be accounted for by the spread of civil wars and the developing depth of human legal rights abuse, but coverage reforms might also have contributed.

Hunting across European nations around the world, Determine 2 demonstrates that there is wide variation in typical once-a-year recognition fees for 2003–18. This is the so-known as asylum lottery, which contrasts with the EU’s prolonged-standing aim that “no make a difference where an applicant applies, the final result will be similar”. 

Nonetheless, irrespective of endeavours at reform, the regular deviation of recognition premiums greater from an common of 13.6 in 2003–07 to 20.2 in 2014–18. Even for person origin nations, the dispersion across destination nations has not decreased (Hatton 2021: 28, see also Leerkes 2015).

Determine 2 Common recognition costs by place, 2005–2018

Analysing developments and discrepancies

In Hatton (2021), I examine a panel of recognition premiums for 20 European desired destination international locations by 65 origin countries from 2003 to 2017. Exploiting the differential timing that these directives have been transposed into countrywide law, I uncover a combination of favourable and adverse associations, some of which differ from these implied by the qualitative literature. But consistent with previously quantitative scientific tests (e.g. Neumayer 2005, Toshkov 2014), variables representing violence, persecution, and human legal rights abuse in origin international locations are important.

The contribution of diverse teams of variables to the upward craze in recognition rates is illustrated in Figure 3. For every yr, the to start with bar (in blue) is the 12 months outcomes (compared with 2003 = ) when no controls are integrated. The next bar (in orange) is the 12 months consequences when origin-country persecution and conflict are incorporated. These boost much less steeply, especially from 2011, indicating that greater persecution accounts for about fifty percent of the enhance in recognition charges.

The third bar (in gray) exhibits the calendar year outcomes when the transposition of EU directives into vacation spot-country laws are also provided. By 2016 the peak of the grey bar is lowered by extra than a 3rd when compared with the scenario with only origin-state controls. This suggests that the EU directives built a distinctive, if modest, contribution to stopping what could possibly usually have been a race to the bottom in asylum guidelines.

Figure 3 Approximated marginal yr consequences for the recognition amount (2003 = )

Notes: The heights of the bars are the believed marginal effects of 12 months dummies with unique sets of controls. The whiskers are 95 % self esteem intervals.

The believed variations in between nations are illustrated in Figure 4 as marginal country results in proportion-stage variances from France. The initial bar (in blue) is the over-all recognition charge, which incorporates equally distinctions in origin-region composition and variances in recognition premiums for a provided origin state (as deviations from France). The 2nd bar in orange) is the marginal country outcomes which include only origin-by-12 months dummy variables. The change involving the peak of the blue and grey bars accounts for variances in origin-place composition.

Figure 4 Believed marginal state effects for the recognition charge (deviations from France)

Notes: The heights of the bars are the estimated marginal outcomes of place place dummies with unique sets of controls. These are built as deviations from France, which is taken as the base for the reason that it includes the greatest range of origin international locations (64) and complete observations (949). The whiskers are 95 % self confidence intervals.

Some countries with rather higher in general recognition rates (relative to France) look considerably more durable when adjusted for origin-country composition. These incorporate Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. But modifying for origin-by-12 months effects does very little to reduce the cross-region dispersion: the regular deviation of the origin-altered recognition rates is 14.7 when compared with 15.7 for the total prices. When recognition costs are also altered for plan (in grey), they vary only somewhat from the origin-modified rates and the regular deviation decreases very somewhat to 14.6.

What accounts for the persistent discrepancies in recognition prices across European international locations? Cross-sectional investigation (for 2013) indicates that institutional buildings may well be vital. The existence of a border company independent from the position dedication treatment is negatively affiliated with the recognition rate. Equally, an accelerated procedure for ‘manifestly unfounded’ claims is negatively associated with recognition fees. 

Even though the interpretation of these correlations continues to be speculative, they are powerful sufficient to counsel that cross-place variation in recognition prices relies upon not only on procedural rules but also on the structure of the companies that employ them.

Coverage implications

In the aftermath of the migration crisis, the European Fee produced a set of reform proposals, most of which were subsequently included into the New Pact on Migration and Asylum (European Fee 2020). Amongst these are the transformation of the Qualification and Methods Directives into Polices, which would imply shifting from a established of ambitions which every state implements in its personal way to straight binding and precisely specified regulations. If executed, these are very likely to leave much less space for discretion at the country stage, which may guide to significant convergence in recognition costs. But in the absence of a entirely integrated EU-extensive bureaucratic framework, it looks unlikely that distinctions in recognition prices will be eliminated.


European Fee (2020), New pact on migration and asylum.

Leerkes, A (2015), “How (un)restrictive are we? ‘Adjusted’ and ‘expected’ asylum recognition costs in Europe”, Netherlands Department of Justice, Performing Paper 2015-10.

Hatton, T J (2020), “Asylum migration to the designed entire world: Persecution, incentives, and policy”, Journal of Financial Perspectives 34 (1): 75–93.

Hatton, T J (2021), “Asylum recognition premiums in Europe: Persecution, guidelines and performance”, CEPR Discussion Paper 16709.

Neumayer, A (2005), “Asylum recognition rates in Western Europe: Their determinants, variation, and deficiency of convergence”, Journal of Conflict Resolution 49(1): 43–66.

Toshkov, D D (2014), “The dynamic romance between asylum applications and recognition rates in Europe (1987–2010)”, European Union Politics 15(2): 192–214.