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France

Applications for asylum in France climb to nearly 80,000 in 2015

media Migrants gather in the courtyard as they wait to be evacutated from the Lycee Jean Quarre, an empty secondary school occuiped by hundred of migrants and asylum-seekers in the 19th district in Paris, France, 23 October 2015. Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

Nearly 80,000 people applied for asylum in France in 2015, with just under a third successful, the French agency for the protection of refugees said Tuesday.

That figure pales in comparison to the 1.1 million requests made in Germany, as well as to other northern European countries. It is, however, a 22 per cent jump from 2014.

Syrians accounted for 5,200 of the asylum applications in France, a 66 per cent rise compared to the previous year. Nearly all - 97 percent - were granted asylum.

There was also a spike in applications made by asylum-seekers from Sudan and Kosovo.

"We are seeing asylum requests going up from countries (where people have) a strong need for protection," Pascal Brice, the director general of the French agency for the protection of refugees, told news agency AFP.

A law aimed at speeding up and streamlining the processing of refugee claims in France went into effect in November. Two government agencies were to hire significantly more people to handle refugee claims under the law, which also increased the availability of temporary housing for asylum-seekers.

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