The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports in a monthly breakdown in which other countries Hungarians applied for asylum in the last 20 years, according to their data.
Based on this, more than 26 thousand Hungarians applied for asylum in several waves in the last 20 years. Those who feel they are in danger in Hungary mostly go to Canada; however, there were quite strange attempts as well, like the Swedish adventure in 2006, reports Index.
Main destinations in the world for Hungarian asylum applicants
(Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, USA, New Zealand)
This is the data that the UN knows about – the data of national offices may differ. Additionally, the UN does not state the number of asylum applications if there are between 1-4 applications from a given country in a month. These cases were counted as 2. There are two main channels to apply for asylum in the US. These were added together, but it is possible that one tries both, so this data could be an overestimation.
It should be noted that these are only the applications submitted, and usually, only a small percentage of these are accepted since, for example,
there were no civil wars in the last 20 years in Hungary.
But it is also hard to prove things like being systematically pursued by Gyurcsány or Orbán, or the state not protecting them from discrimination for their disadvantageous ancestry.
It is fair to say that Canada was the most popular destination; more than 23 thousand Hungarians attempted to seek asylum there. The second, Sweden, hardly measures up to it with barely more than half a thousand asylum seekers.
Moreover, the regulations of the asylum system differ in each country and in most cases have changed in the last 20 years drastically.
Canada on top
It is obvious that people seeking asylum in Canada came in waves. First, between 1999 and 2002, then almost ten years after that, between 2009 and 2012. This is not a coincidence. The first wave for asylum seekers set off in 1998. Mostly Romanis applied for asylum in Ottawa. Visa requirements were reintroduced in December 2001, which put an end to the wave, but up until then, almost nine thousand people applied at airports. From then on, basically only those who could prove that they were tourists, businessmen, students, legal employees, or an immigrant compatible with the requirements of the job market could travel to Canada.
Hungary was in the top three of Canada’s source countries for years, outstripping countries like China or Colombia, where neither human rights nor the emergence of democracy is comparable with Hungary’s.
The Immigration and Refugee Board only found 1-2 per cent of the applications valid, and 90 per cent of those were repealed or not completed, and it was not uncommon that the asylum seeker disappeared. This indicates that the majority did not believe themselves that the Canadian state could be convinced that they were being systematically pursued in Hungary and receive no protection from the state.
Let us not forget that Canada evaluated the situation of dozens of Hungarians, finding it to be hostile every year. According to the data of the National Post, more than a hundred Hungarians’ application for asylum was accepted in 2011 and 2012.
Countries of the EU
Countries of the European Union are in a special situation since the most important principle of the EU is that its citizens are able to move freely. An application for asylum could mean extra benefits, but that is hard to justify since countries of the EU are eminently safe.
Ideally, we can stay for three months in other EU countries, and those citizens can stay further who are employed in the country, live there as private entrepreneurs or students or have enough money to sustain themselves. Belgium and Sweden were the most popular destinations in the EU in the last 20 years for asylum seekers.
There were odd cases as well, like a Hungarian applying for asylum in Bosnia in the summer of 2013, or the 2-8 Hungarians going as far as South Korea in 2017-2018.