Data released today (April 19, 2018) shows that EU (European Union) nations -- as well as Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland -- granted protection status to 538,000 asylum seekers in 2017, according to the Eurostat website.
Two forms of protection are offered under EU law: refugee status -- for people fleeing persecution, and subsidiary protection -- for those who face serious harm if they return to their country of origin, and who don't qualify as refugees.
However, protection may also be granted for humanitarian reasons, such as on grounds of ill health, or if the person is an unaccompanied minor.
Around one-third of asylum seekers in Europe came from Syria last year, followed by Afghan citizens (19%) and Iraqis (12%). By far, Germany took in the most protected persons in 2017 (60.5%), ahead of France (7.5%) and Italy (6.5%).