Analysis of factors underlying patterns of asylum seeking

Alexandros Bitoulas, European Commission, Eurostat
David Thorogood, European Commission, Eurostat

European statistical legislation that was adopted in 2007 established a core set of migration-related statistical data that national authorities in the European Union Member States are obliged to send to Eurostat. These data include amongst others, migration flows, foreign population stocks, acquisition of citizenship, asylum applications and decisions and residence permits issued to non-EU citizens. The increased availability and level of harmonisation of data following the implementation of this legislation means that there are new options for data analysis and modelling. This paper will present the results of ongoing work at Eurostat to use statistical techniques to better understand and explain patterns seen in the data. Initially, this work has focussed on the monthly data on asylum applications, although this may be extended to other migration datasets and may include an analysis of the relationships between different datasets – for example, looking at the similarities and patterns seen in data on asylum applications and persons seeking to migrate for labour market reasons. This paper analyses the impact of various socio-economic, cultural, historical and geographical factors (including the relative economic situation of origin and destination countries, presence of a common language and historical ties, geographical proximity, political stability) on asylum seekers' choice of destination. Past literature provides information on the effects of these factors on overall migration flows. It is unclear to what extent these factors that are known to influence general migration also impact on asylum seeking. The decision process and underlying factors that result in the choice of destination for an asylum seeker are likely to differ from those of a labour or student migrant. We use mainly regression analysis to quantify the effects of these factors, taking advantage of the well harmonised and largely complete monthly asylum data now available on the Eurostat public dissemination database.

Presented in Session 39: International migration flows