France is now looking after more than 500,000 non-Ukrainian refugees, the country’s Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) announced on July 3.
The news comes amid a resurgence in undocumented border crossings into Europe, with a number of European Union nations seeing a significant increase in arrivals since the end of the Covid pandemic.
In its yearly activity report for 2022, OFPRA said that France had received 115,091 first-time asylum applications last year, most from migrants described as being from Afghanistan and Turkey.
The organisation now estimates that there are 547,102 non-Ukrainian refugees in France as of the end of last year, with the government body saying that it had granted asylum protection to 56,276 people in 2022.
OFPRA also said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine starting last year has had a significant impact on asylum claims in France, with the body seeing a rise of around 75 per cent in claims made by Russian citizens.
Some 2,617 applicants from that country reportedly expressed fears regarding political repression at home, especially in relation to opposition to Moscow’s ongoing “special military operation” in Ukraine.
France is not the only country reporting a significant spike in would-be refugees in 2022. Germany has seen the arrival of more than 200,000 non-Ukrainian asylum seekers over the same period.