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Annual Report: International Protection in the Czech Republic in 2009

Main trends, number of seekers, proceedings and European cooperation 

Number of Seekers of International Protection
In 2009, a total of 1,258 persons sought international protection in the Czech Republic. This continues the decreasing trend that started in 2004 (after Czech Republic entered the EU). This year, a 24 % decrease was recorded. The average monthly numbers of applications for international protection submitted in 2009 was 105.
2009 was the second year that the former two [1]  year mandatory period for resubmitting an application was no longer applicable as result of the EU Procedural Directive [2]  implemented into the Czech Asylum Act. Therefore, foreign nationals are allowed to file a new application immediately after a negative decision on granting international protection comes into force. This fact led to an even higher share of repeated applications in 2009 than in the previous year.
During 2009, a total of 625 applications for international protection were resubmitted, which is about a half (49.7 %) of the total number of applications. The number of newly arriving seekers of international protection was only 633.
When comparing the source continents of the seekers, it is clear that Asia dominated (56 %). The proportion of Europeans was 30 % and seekers from Africa made up 8 %.
In 2009, foreign nationals from 60 states applied for international protection. Just as in the previous year, Ukrainian nationals submitted the highest number of applications (203). They were followed by nationals of Kazakhstan with 186 applications and nationals of Mongolia (159), who took up the third place this year, as they did in the preceding one, for the most frequent source country. Nationals of Turkey (66) were fourth, though with far fewer applications. These four nationalities made up almost more than 50 % of the total number of applications submitted.
The ten main source countries were Vietnam (63), Russia (57), Belarus (54), Syria (45) and Nigeria (41), while the highest number of applications was filed by stateless persons (65).
The increased number of applications submitted by Kazakh nationals was characteristic for the entire year. Compared to the previous year, it was more than double. Nonetheless, almost 90 % of the Kazakh cases concerned applications resubmitted by persons that came to the Czech Republic in 2006 and were denied international protection at least once.
As far as the countries with the highest numbers of nationals seeking international protection, compared to 2008, there was an increase in Syrian (by 25 %) and Nigerian (by 5 %) nationals, as well as an immense increase in stateless persons (by 110 %). As per other nationalities, the numbers of applications decreased. It was common for nationals of Syria, particularly at the beginning of the year, to access the territory of the Czech Republic on flights from Cairo to Prague. These were mainly families with underage children or relatives. Seekers from Nigeria travelled to the Czech Republic individually, again by air.
One of the most common reasons for submitting an application in 2009 stated by the seekers was to legalize their status in the Czech Republic (9.4 %). A number of foreign nationals without a residence permit use the option of applying for international protection to regularize their residence.

[1] The 2-year period began on the day when the last negative decision on international protection came into effect.
[2] Council Directive 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005 on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status.

Department for Asylum and Migration Policy, 26th February 2010

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