Around 206,500 people applied for asylum in the EU between January and April
Comes after 2018 figures showed an 11 per cent decline in migrants in the EU
The recent hike has been attributed to visa-free travel under the Schengen Area
Visa-free asylum seekers from Colombia shot up by 156 per cent to 8,097
Venezuelans applying increased by 121 per cent to 14,257 after conflict there
By JAMES GANT
11 June 2019
The number of migrants in the European Union has dramatically increased as Venezuelans and Colombians flood in following conflicts back home.
Asylum seekers from Venezuela have increased by 121 per cent to 14,257, meaning it has overtaken the number coming from Syria.
People seeking refuge from Colombia also shot up by 156 per cent to 8,097 in the first four months of this year, according to the European Asylum Support Office.
Colombia and Venezuela are both members of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
Their citizens can travel to the EU – moving around freely using the Schengen Zone – if they have an ETIAS waiver. From there they can then seek asylum.
Venezuelan’s are seeking refuge due to the country’s deteriorating political situation, a severe economic crisis and increasing violence.
And Colombians are feeling the pressure of taking on more than one million migrants from its neighbour, as the government and aid agencies have scrambled to provide housing, food and healthcare.