The truth about asylum - Refugee Council

The truth about asylum

How much do you know about the refugees and the asylum process in the UK? We've prepared a short quiz. Have a go - you may be surprised by some of the answers! We read so much misleading information about refugees and people seeking asylum. But together we can spread the truth...

1. How many people applied for asylum in the UK in the past year?

a) 35, 566

b) 65, 256

c) 12, 788

The answer is a.

There were 35,566 asylum applications made in the UK in the last 12 months, a 21% increase on the previous year. The number of asylum applications equates to a tiny fraction of non-EEA nationals arriving in the UK.

2. Of these applications, what percentage were granted protection?

a) 52%

b) 12%

c) 72%

The answer is a.

52% of initial decisions made in the year to December 2019 have been grants of protection, meaning they have been awarded refugee status or humanitarian protection. This is a 33% increase from this time last year.

We welcome the fact that over the last 12 months, 20,703 people were granted protection in the UK through the asylum system or resettlement programmes, the highest number in a single year since 2003. Of these, 37% were children.

The quality of decision making is often poor, with many refugees having to rely on the courts to award protection following an appeal of the Government’s initial decision. The appeals process can be complex and lengthy, with people seeking asylum having to wait months for their appeals to be heard.

3. Which country do most refugees in the UK originate from?

a) Syria

b) Afghanistan

c) Iran

The answer is c.

In the year ending December 2019, the top five nationalities of people seeking asylum were Iran, Albania, Iraq, Pakistan and Eritrea.

4. How many people waited more than 6 months for an initial decision on their claim from the Home Office?

a) 17, 459

b) 22, 549

c) 8, 114

The answer is b.

Thousands of people have to wait years for a final decision on their claim, meaning they are left in limbo and unable to plan for their futures.

The total backlog in cases pending an initial decision increased from 35,043 at the end of September 2019 to 40,018 at the end of December 2019. Of these, 22,549  had been waiting for more than 6 months.

Each one of these cases represents a person anxiously awaiting news of their fate.

5. While they await a decision, are people seeking asylum allowed to work?

a) No

b) Yes

c) No, except in limited circumstances

The answer is c.

People seeking asylum are effectively banned from working and are provided with just over £5 per day from the Government to cover the costs of their basic necessities.

Could you live on just £5 per day?

The Home Office may grant permission to work to asylum seekers whose claim has been outstanding for more than 12 months through no fault of their own. Those who are allowed to work are restricted to jobs on the shortage occupation list, which includes ballet dancer and geophysicist.

6. These are real reasons given by the Home Office for rejecting an asylum claim – TRUE or FALSE?

a) Because you went on holiday.

b) Because Christianity is not a religion of peace.

c) Because of Brexit.

The answer is, incredibly, all of the above!