In 2022, around 330 000 irregular border crossings were
detected at EU’s external border, according to preliminary calculations*. This
is the highest number since 2016 and an increase of 64% from the previous year.
After the pandemic-induced low in 2020, this was the second
year in a row with a steep rise in the number of irregular entries. The Western
Balkan route accounted for nearly half of the total. Syrians, Afghans and Tunisians together
accounted for 47% of the detections in 2022. The number of Syrians roughly
doubled to 94 000.
Women accounted for fewer than one in ten of
the detections, while the share of reported minors fell slightly to around 9
percent of all detections.
Separately, almost 13 million Ukrainian refugees were counted on entry at
the EU's external land borders from Ukraine and Moldova between 24 February
2022 until the end of the year, which are not included in these figures. In the
same period, 10 million Ukrainian nationals were reported on exit at the same
- 330 000 irregular border crossings detected
in 2022, highest since 2016
- 45% of all irregular entries in 2022 occurred
via the Western Balkans
- Highest increase in the Western Balkan and
Eastern Mediterranean route
- Nationals of Syria, Afghanistan and Tunisia
most frequently reported
Last year, EU and Schengen
associated countries faced unprecedented challenges at their external borders.
These have ranged from the state-organised migration perpetrated by Belarus from
2021 onward to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The later caused
record numbers of refugees arriving in the European Union. These events, along
with the steadily increasing number of irregular crossings, demonstrate the
need for strong and effective European Border and Coast Guard, with Frontex as
strong supporter of Member States.
The Western Balkan route
In 2022, there were 145 600
irregular border crossings reported on the Western Balkans route, 136% more
than in 2021. This is the highest number of crossings reported on this route
since 2015 and about half of all reported irregular entries in 2022.
Citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Türkiye accounted for the largest number of detections. Nationalities that
previously had been little on this route were also reported, such as Tunisians,
Indians and Burundis.
The Central Mediterranean
The number of detections in the Central
Mediterranean rose by more than half to well over 100 000 detections.
Egyptians, Tunisians and Bangladeshis were the
top three nationalities in a year that saw the most arrivals in this region
from Libya since 2017 and the most from Tunisia in recent history.
The Eastern Mediterranean
In 2022, there were about 42 800 irregular
border crossings detected on the Eastern Mediterranean route. Syrians, Afghans
and Nigerians were the top reported nationalities. Figures roughly doubled
compared with 2022 yet remained below half of the figures in 2019.
The Western Mediterranean route saw a
decrease in migratory pressure in 2022 with around a fifth fewer detections
than in the previous year. While 80 % of the irregular migrants come from
Northwest African countries, selected Sub-Saharan African nationalities
recorded major increases, as did Syrians.
On the Western African route, there were
15 460 arrivals in 2022, 31% less than in 2021. More than two-thirds of the
detected migrants coming from Morocco and various sub-Saharan countries.
In 2022, Frontex had about 20
operations at and beyond EU’s external borders and an average of 2000 standing
corps officers deployed.
In the English Channel, over 71
000 irregular border crossings were detected on exit, including both attempts
and successful crossings. Over 50 different nationalities were recorded in the
Channel, most of them from the Middle East, Albania and the Horn of Africa.
*The figure includes other
less active migratory routes not mentioned in this press release. The final figures
may be higher due to delayed reporting.
Note: The preliminary data
presented in this statement refer to the number of detections of irregular
border-crossing at the external borders of the European Union. The same person
may cross the border several times in different locations at the