In 2018, the EU refused entry to more non-EU citizens than in 2017, but fewer were found to be illegally staying within EU borders or asked to leave the territory, a new report from Eurostat has found.
More refused entry, fewer deported outside EU in 2018
471,000 citizens from outside the EU were refused entry into the EU in 2018, according to Eurostat. That's 7% more than in 2017, when there were 439,500.
On the other hand, in 2018, 478,000 people were issued an order to leave the EU -- a 7% decrease from 2017, when they were 516,100.
Also down, by 3%, is the figure of illegal non-EU citizens present in the block in 2018. They were 601,500, compared to 618,800 in 2017. Their numbers have fallen sharply since 2015, when there were 2,154,700 non-EU citizens present illegally in the bloc. That was the highest number ever recorded, Eurostat noted in its report.
In 2018, 198,000 non-EU citizens, after receiving an order to leave, were returned to another country, 158,000 among them were returned to a country outside the EU.
Germany, France, Greece and Spain host 68% of illegal migrants in EU
68% of illegal migrants present in the EU live in four EU countries: Germany, France, Greece and Spain, but numbers vary greatly.
Germany claims the highest number of non-EU illegal migrants in 2018, with 134,100. France is second with 105,900. They are 93,400 and 78,300 in Spain.
France deported more than twice as many migrants as the other three countries
But while Germany had many more illegal immigrants present in its territory, it is the French authorities who in 2018 presented the largest number (105,600) of non-EU citizens with an order to leave the country.
The three other main EU countries reported almost half the French amount, with 59,300 for Spain, 58,300 for Greece and 52,900 for Germany.
But in both absolute and relative terms, Spain recorded the highest increase in the number of non-EU citizens ordered to leave between 2017 and 2018 (up 31,900 people or +117%), Eurostat noted in its report.
The largest number of non-EU citizens returned to countries outside the EU was in Germany (29,100), followed by Poland (25,700) and the United Kingdom (24,500), Eurostat added.