EU external borders in August: Highest number of arrivals since 2016

In the first eight months of this year, nearly 188 200 irregular entries were detected at the external borders of the European Union, according to preliminary calculations. * This represents an increase of 75% compared with the same period of last year and is the highest total for the January-August period since 2016.

Key developments:·         188 200 irregular entries recorded in first eight months of 2022
·         This is the highest total for the January-August period since 2016
·         Western Balkan, Central Mediterranean routes remain most active

·         Western Mediterranean, Eastern Land Border routes see drops in detections

In August, EU Member States recorded about 32 800 irregular crossings, 35% more than in the same month in 2021.

Top migratory routes:

The Western Balkan route continues to be the most active migratory route into the EU with 15 900 detections in August, 141% more than last year. The high number of illegal border crossings can be attributed to repeated crossing attempts by migrants already present in the Western Balkans.

The pressure remains also high on the Central Mediterranean route with daily arrivals putting strain on the reception capacities in Italy. Frontex supports the Italian authorities with officers for registration and identification of arrivals.

People fleeing Ukraine and entering the EU through border crossing points are not part of the figures of illegal entries detected. According to the latest Frontex data, 8.8 million Ukrainian nationals have entered EU from Ukraine since the start of the war. At the same time, a significant number of Ukrainian nationals have returned to their country.

Responding to the high migratory pressure, Frontex has more than 2300 standing corps officers and staff at various sections of the EU external border, as well as in Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and Moldova. In total, more than 2 300 standing corps officers and Frontex staff are taking part in various operational activities.

The number of irregular migrants seeking to cross the Channel towards the UK in small boats remained high with roughly 41 067 detections so far in 2022, including both attempts and crossings. This represents an 80% increase on the same period in 2021. August, with over 13500 detections, represents the highest number of monthly detections ever reported in the Channel since the migratory flows started in 2019. The high number of sea crossings in August is mostly related to good weather conditions and possible impact of the new UK migration plan.

*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 attempt to cross the border several times in different locations at the external border.