United Nations: More than 10,000 Pakistani nationals applied for asylum in 44 countries last year, making Pakistan the eighth largest asylum-seeker in industrialised nations, according to a report of the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Out of the total of 10,825 applications by Pakistani asylum seekers, 9130 were lodged to European countries alone, possibly because they perceived a better chance of a positive response from those nations.
With 2748 applications, Greece received the highest number of asylum requests from Pakistanis, followed by United Kingdom (2,115), France (890), Italy (814), United States (551), Canada (492), Australia (433), Austria (276), Ireland (200), Cyprus (155), South Korea (129), Switzerland (92), Japan (83), Spain (63) and the Netherlands (60).
Other countries where Pakistanis lodged asylum requests include Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Malta, New Zealand, Romania, Macedonia and Turkey.
However, there has been a four per cent decline in the trend this year, taking Pakistan to the eighth spot in 2010 from the ninth position in 2009 in terms of number of asylum seekers as compared to other asylum-seeking nations.
The data was published in a UNHCR report ‘Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialised Countries, 2010’, which summarizes patterns and trends in the number of individual asylum claims submitted in Europe and selected non-European countries during 2010.
According to the report, an estimated 358,800 asylum applications were recorded in the 44 countries, some 20,000 claims or 5 per cent less than in 2009 and 2008.
Out of a total of 358,800 asylum applications registered in 2010, the 38 countries in Europe received 269,900 claims, a decrease of 6 per cent compared to 2009 (287,800 claims).
The number of asylum-seekers in Australia and New Zealand increased by 31 per cent during 2010 (8,600 claims) as compared to the previous year (6,600).
For the fifth year running, the United States of America was the largest single recipient of new asylum claims among the group of 44 industrialized countries.
An estimated 55,500 individuals submitted an application, 6,500 claims more than the year before. Chinese and Mexican asylum-seekers primarily accounted for this recent increase, with almost one third of all claims in the country lodged by asylum-seekers from China.