Comprehensive analysis of UK asylum system published - Refugee Council
March 16, 2021

Comprehensive analysis of UK asylum system published

The latest analysis of the UK ’s asylum system has been published, including all relevant statistics and policy developments.

The report forms part of the Asylum Information Database, a project coordinated by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles which aims to provide up to date information on asylum practice in 23 countries.

The UK report gives a comprehensive overview of the asylum procedure, drawing together relevant facts and figures relating to refugees and people seeking asylum in this country. Despite the disproportionate attention on the mode of arrival of people seeking asylum to the UK the statistics show that overall, applications fell during 2020.

This year’s report includes the latest immigration statistics covering 2020 and outlines changes made to policy and new jurisprudence throughout the year, as well as signalling some of the changes made at the end of 2020 due to the UK no longer being governed by EU law. The most notable of these were the ending of the UK’s involvement in Dublin III, which enabled participating states to transfer people seeking asylum from one country to another, either to reunite families or to return responsibility to the first country in the EU to record their presence. There was an large increase in requests from the UK to transfer people as the deadline approached, although actual transfers were fewer than previous years, presumably due to Covid-related travel restrictions.

Covid-19 changes also form a significant element of the report: distinction is made between temporary policy changes  due to the pandemic and longer term reform. Key pieces of research by ngos also feature, as well as summaries of relevant reports by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration and parliamentary committees, including much commentary on the state of asylum support accommodation.

Judith Dennis, Policy Manager at the Refugee Council and report author, said:

“We are very proud to contribute to the Asylum Information Database which gives an extremely comprehensive picture of the state of refugee protection across Europe.

“This is the fifth such report we’ve drafted and the underlying picture remains much the same; we take a smaller number of people than many other European countries but fail to make decisions in a timely way and provide inadequate support to many who wait to hear their fate. Some of our policies and practice compare favourably but here is far too much inconsistency and the government is too slow to act when evidence of problems are highlighted, such as standards in accommodation and the destitution experienced by people once they have refugee status.

“Instead of blaming refugees for the manner in which they arrive and making bold and fantastical proposals on the future arrangements, the government should concentrate on getting its house in order and providing protection promptly to those who need it.”