Today the Government has published its migration statistics for the year ending June 2015.
As we are all aware, the truth about asylum is often in short supply, with the same old myths and scare stories peddled again and again.
At the Refugee Council, we believe it’s time to put that right. Here are our top 15 facts based on the latest asylum stats.
1. Asylum seekers make up a tiny proportion of new arrivals in Britain. Today’s statistics show that 330,000 people arrived in Britain during the course of the year – asylum seekers coming to Britain escaping persecution made up just 10% of that figure. Of course, not all asylum seekers will be granted permission to stay in Britain.
2. Britain is not Europe’s top recipient of asylum applications. Together, Germany and Sweden receive almost half of all applications made in the EU.
In the year ending June 2015, Britain received just 4% of all asylum claims made in the EU.
Germany, Sweden, France, Hungary, Italy and Austria all receive significantly more applications than we do.
3. More people arrived in Greece in July 2015 alone than have claimed asylum in Britain all year.
4. Asylum applications to the UK remain low: in the year ending June 2015, 25,771applications were received in Britain, 32,508 including dependants. Given the world is in the grips of the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War, few people are making it to the Britain in their search for safety.
Here are the long term trends in the number of asylum applications we receive.
5. World events often correlate directly with asylum applications. Unrest in Syria and South Sudan and a new wave of people fleeing tyranny in Eritrea led to rises in applications from those nationalities. The top 5 nationalities applying for asylum in the year ending June 2015 were:
6. 41% of initial decisions made in this time period were grants of some form of protection.
However, many refugees had to rely on the courts rather than the Government to provide them with the protection they needed. The proportion of asylum appeals allowed in the year ending June 2015 increased to 30%. Women were more likely to win on appeal than men, with 33% of appeals by women allowed compared to 28% of appeals by men.
7. Appallingly, dodgy new guidelines mean there has been a significant drop in the number of Eritrean people being granted refugee status in Britain. Grants of protection on Eritrean claims fell from 73% in the first quarter of 2015 to 34% in the second quarter of 2015. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1PVEpl3
8. There was a fall in the number of unaccompanied children granted protection, down from 72% during the same period last year to 67% in the year ending June 2015. Sadly, this protection usually expires after 2.5 years and many children will not be given further leave.
9. The number of Syrian refugees resettled in Britain stood at just 216 since the conflict began. A pathetic number, as the total number of Syrian refugees reaches nearly 4.1 million. Britain can and should be doing so much more to help.
10. And the number of Syrians who have sought asylum in Britain since the conflict began stands at just over 7,000. In 2015 alone, Germany has so far received over 44,400 asylum applications from Syrians. Like most of the world’s refugees, very few Syrians make it to Britain in their search for safety.
11. The backlog in cases awaiting a decision rose 2% to 21,604 compared to the same time period last year. Each one of these cases represents a person stuck living in limbo, anxiously awaiting news of their fate.
13. At the end of the year ending June 2015, 30,457 asylum seekers and their dependants were being supported by the Government. This figure has increased each quarter since the end of September 2012, but is still below the figure for end of 2003 when there were 80,123 asylum seekers being supported. This does not mean asylum seekers lives in luxury; far from it; people have no say in where they live and are often left to survive on around £5 a day.
14. At the end of June 2015, 14,639 asylum seekers were locked up inside detention centres. Shamefully, around half of all asylum seekers find themselves detained at some point during the process. Despite the Government’s 2010 pledge to end child detention for immigration purposes, 155 children were imprisoned during the last year. Well over half of the children who left detention were released, rendering their detention not only harmful but futile.
15. In the last year, just 809 refugees were resettled in Britain via programmes run in conjunction with the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and through the British Government’s own Syrian Vulnerable Person’s Relocation scheme. A truly woeful number given other countries resettle thousands of refugees. UNHCR estimates there are around 1 million refugees around the world in desperate need of a resettlement place.