The EMN Annual Report provides a comprehensive overview of the migration and asylum situation and developments in EU Member States, Norway and Georgia, as well as statistical data for the year 2022, where available at the time of publication of the report.
Undoubtedly, the Russian war against Ukraine commencing on 24 February, stood out as the most significant occurrence of the year. As a result, on 4 March 2022, the Temporary Protection Directive was activated for the first time in over two decades since its adoption, offering immediate protection and a standardized set of rights. To date, there have been more than four million registrations for temporary protection in the EU and Schengen Associated Countries, with more than three million registrations recorded during the first half of 2022.
2022 saw a significant rise in asylum applications, with approximately 966,000 applications, representing an increase of about 50% compared to 2021 and the highest number since 2016. Additionally, irregular border crossings reached approximately 330,000 incidents, marking a 64% increase compared to the previous year. These developments created a strain on the asylum systems and reception capacities of both Member States and Norway.
Moreover, sustained and heightened pressures were observed at the external borders of the Mediterranean countries, along the Western Balkan route, and at the EU’s borders with Belarus. The amplified migratory flows, coupled with the conflict in Ukraine, raised concerns regarding security implications and the subsequent risks of migrant smuggling and cross-border criminal activities. Consequently, several EU Member States strengthened their border control measures.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic receded in 2022. This allowed for the lifting of travel restrictions and return operations could resume.
Attracting and retaining qualified workers remained a top priority for EMN Member and Observer Countries in 2022. Throughout the year, the identification of labour shortages and bottlenecks highlighted the ongoing need for reforms to enhance the recruitment of skilled individuals and improve the management of legal migration.
At EU level, the European Commission launched the ‘Skills and Talents Package’ aimed at attracting talent and to facilitate the EU’s transition to a green and digital economy, as well as the Talent Pool Pilot facilitating job-matching for Ukrainians as a first stage. Several EU Member States implemented Skills Mobility Partnerships to promote sustainable approaches to skilled migration and mobility. Similarly, Georgia, as an EMN Observer Country, adopted a new development strategy that prioritizes labour migration facilitation and the strengthening of its diaspora abroad to enhance the country’s development.