At least 3.9 million unauthorized migrants — and possibly as many as 4.8 million — lived in Europe in 2017 with half of them in Germany and the United Kingdom, according to a study published this week.
The Pew Research Center said the number grew from 2014, when about 3-3.7 million resided in Europe, and peaked in 2015-16 during the refugee crisis when some 1.3 million people arrived, mostly from war-torn countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
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In 2016, an estimated 4.1-5.3 million unauthorized migrants lived in Europe.
That’s the year central European countries closed the Balkans route that many migrants used to get to northern Europe. Also, the European Union and Turkey signed a deal designed to keep millions of migrants in Turkey from coming to Europe, and many asylum seekers, especially Syrians, received asylum or residency rights in Germany and other European countries. All this led to a decrease in the number of unauthorized migrants by 2017.