We asked for asylum statistics from the Bulgarian State Agency for Refugees (SAR). Here's what we learned. 🤔
Bulgaria's rejection rate went up again
More than twice the number of asylum applications were rejected than accepted last year, for the second year in a row.
In 2015, roughly 1 out of every 10 asylum applications got rejected. That jumped to more than half, 5 out of every 10, in 2016.
In 2017 it crept up even more: More than 6 out of every 10 asylum applications got rejected last year.
Almost no one from Afghanistan got asylum in Bulgaria last year
Although asylum-seekers from Afghanistan filed more applications than any other nationality, Bulgaria rejected almost all of them: 98.4%. That rate is unusually high compared to other countries in Europe.
The Asylum Information Database reported that in 2017, asylum applications from people from Afghanistan were accepted at very different rates across Europe, with Bulgaria the lowest.
In France, 83.1% of asylum applications from Afghanistan nationals were accepted. The rate was 58% in Belgium, 47% in Germany and 30% in Hungary.
Last year, the Greek Asylum Service reported that 63.6% of people from Afghanistan get positive decisions on asylum applications filed in Greece.
People from Iraq and Pakistan faced high rejection rates, too
Bulgaria rejected applications filed by people from Iraq 88.6% of the time last year.
By comparison: Last year the Greek Asylum Service reported a much lower rejection rate for people from Iraq: 27.2%.
Bulgaria rejected 98.6% of asylum applications from Pakistan nationals last year.
By comparison: Greece reports similar numbers. Last year Greece said it had a 97.7% rejection rate for Pakistan nationals.
Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria stayed the top asylum-seeking nationalities in Bulgaria
For years, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have been the top countries by the number of asylum-seekers in Bulgaria.
Out of the 3,700 applications submitted last year, 3,132 of them were from these three countries.
Most applicants were men
Last year men made up almost 75% of the asylum-seekers in Bulgaria. Women got almost the same number of approvals as men. This means that many men were rejected.
Men and women were rejected at a similar rate, but women were more likely to get full refugee status than men were.
About half of women who were accepted got refugee status, and half got humanitarian protection. Men were more likely to get humanitarian protection than refugee status.
More than 1,000 people are still waiting for a decision
In 2017, SAR received 5 times fewer asylum applications than it got in 2016 or 2015.
The drop in applications allowed SAR to resolve many pending cases. Still, 1,301 people still haven't got any decision on their claim. Some may have been waiting for years.
Questions? Contact a lawyer
If you have applied for asylum in Bulgaria, you have the right to get help from a lawyer. Find out more on our website. You can always message us on Facebook for more information, too.
Cover photo © Ivo Daskalov