Some 1.65 million people applied for asylum in the world's most developed nations in 2015 - twice as many as compared with the year before, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said Monday.
The OECD, an economic think tank whose wealthy members include the United States, Canada, European Union nations, Turkey and Australia, released the report at a United Nations summit on the global refugee crisis.
A quarter of the asylum applications received by OECD countries came from Syrians, while 16 per cent were filed by Afghan nationals, the Paris-based organization said in its annual International Migration Outlook.
The OECD called for more resettlement and legal migration programmes for refugees, warning that EU efforts to curb irregular - and deadly - migrant boat trips on the Mediterranean would likely fail unless legal migration routes are expanded.
"A growing number of European member states and European Union itself have developed new resettlement programmes or scaled up existing ones. Increasing the resources for these programmes should be a priority for the international community," it said.
Monday's report said that over the last five years Syrians have been offered only 18,200 work permits by OECD countries, as well as 15,300 study permits and more than 72,000 family reunification visas.
According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, more than 4.8 million Syrians have fled their country since a civil war started in 2011. Some 2.7 million are registered in Turkey, and a further 2.1 million in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.