Following the European Project THESIM (Towards Harmonised European Statistics on International Migration), a book entitled "THESIM: Towards Harmonised European Statistics on International Migration" was recently published, with Michel Poulain, Nicolas Perrin and Ann Singleton as editors. The project intended to tackle the problem of international migration statistics being among the less reliable statistics within the field of socio-economic and demographic data.
Statistics on Asylum Applications
Rob van der Erf, Liesbeth Heering and Ernst Spaan
Given this situation, it can be concluded that the way in which asylum seekers are or are not included in the flow and stock statistics differs greatly between the countries of the EU. This hinders the international comparability of these statistics. From a theoretical point of view, it is difficult to recommend one method of inclusion rather than another because asylum seekers do not really fit into the concept of intended duration of stay that governs ex ante flow and stock statistics. This is an extra argument indicating the limited scope of ex ante statistics. They provide only provisional figures that should (after one year) be replaced by ex post statistics. In these the same rule can be applied to both regular migrants and asylum seekers, i.e. the actual duration of stay. Moreover, as discussed above, time lags for asylum seekers do not influence ex post statistics. A further step would be to revise provisional ex ante statistics on the basis of the relationship between ex ante and ex post statistics in earlier years.
Michel Poulain - Emeritus Professor at Université catholique de Louvain and Associated researcher at Estonian Institute for Population Studies.
Ann Singleton, Senior Research Fellow, University of Bristol.
Nicolas Perrin, Researcher at the Catholic Univeristy of Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL)