In response to the new immigration and asylum statistics published today by the Home Office, Donna Covey Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“Following the political unrest and atrocities we saw, and are still seeing, across North Africa and the Middle East, it is no surprise that there was an increase in numbers of people seeking safety here last year from countries including Syria and Libya. For those fleeing persecution it is crucial is that the UKBA makes the right decision on their case first time – but the figures for refusals later overturned at appeal suggest that this is often not the case, and more so for women seeking asylum.
“It is also shocking that 99 children were held in detention last year, when the government pledged to put an end to this abhorrent practice almost two years ago. We know that conditions have improved under the new family removals process, but we still strongly maintain that children should not be detained as part of the asylum process.”
Some key findings:
– In 2011, there were 721 asylum applications from Libyan nationals (up from 90 in 2010).
– In 2011, there were 353 asylum applications from Syrian nationals (up from 127 in 2010)
– Nationals from Iran made the most asylum applications in 2011 – 2,485 applications (13% of the total applications in 2011).
– 1277 separated children applied for asylum in 2011. 354 individuals had their age disputed.
– The proportion of appeals against negative decisions allowed was 26% in 2011 and 67% were refused. The rate of appeals allowed for women was 30%.
– The rate of appeals overturned on negative decisions is much higher for women from some countries than for men, suggesting that it is often more likely for initial decisions on women’s cases to be wrong e.g. More than 42% of appeals were allowed on women’s cases from DRC in 2011, compared to 26% for men’s cases. Similarly for Iran, more than 44% of appeals were allowed on women’s cases from Iran, compared to 27% for men’s cases)
– 99 children entered detention in 2011 – 41 children entered detention (including pre-departure accommodation) during the fourth quarter of 2011, higher than both the third quarter of 2011 (30) and the fourth quarter of 2010 (34). Of the 41 children, 23 were children held at Cedars – the new family detention unit.