Political asylum applications to Spain soaring in 2017

Evolution of political asylum applications in Spain through 2016. Image: CEAR via CadenaSER
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• Venezuelan applicants jump sharply to 7,400, 32% of total through September
• 23,200 petitions in first 9 months compares to 16,554 in same period last year

Spanish immigration authorities have reported a skyrocketing growth in political asylum applications in the first nine months of 2017, with an unusual twist in that 2017 asylum applications from Venezuelan citizens through September jumped sharply to 7,400 — representing 32 percent of the record 23,200 applications received so far in 2017 from citizens of all countries worldwide.

The record 23,200 asylum applications received through September compares to just 16,554 petitions received during the same nine-month period in 2016, which was itself a record year in political asylum applications to Spain. This year’s figure of 7,400 Venezuelans requesting political asylum in Spain as a result of the ongoing political violence in their country is a sharp increase over the 4,916 Venezuelans who sought refuge last year in Spain; in 2015, only 519 Venezuelans requested asylum from Spain.

Traditionally, the majority of asylum applications to Spain come from individuals and families fleeing violence and upheaval in North African or Sub-saharan African countries, many of whom reach Spanish shores by boat via Morocco and Algeria. So far in 2017, Syrian asylum applications are most numerous after the Venezuelans, accounting for 3,400 of the total 23,200 received by Spanish authorities as of September; Ukranian citizens (1,800) and Colombians (1,700) follow, with the most of the remainder of asylum petitions made by citizens of El Salvador, Palestine, Honduras and Cameroon.

► Read More in Spanish at Euroupa Press, CadenaSER and 20minutos …

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