Today the government published immigration statistics for the period ending 31st December 2021. We’ve summarised some of the most interesting ones relating to asylum and protection here
Today’s stats show that the majority of government decisions – 71% – made on asylum claims are grants of protection in the first instant. It is clear people are coming to this country in desperate need of safety, fleeing conflict, war and bloodshed and the government is recognising this by granting them protection.
Applications for asylum have risen by 63%. This is the inevitable consequence of conflicts taking place across the world today, putting the lives of men, women and children at risk. In the past 12 months, there were 48,540 asylum applications. The top countries of origin for asylum claimants were Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Albania, and Syria.
We remain concerned by the length of time people are having to wait longer than 6 months for even an initial decision on their claim. A staggering 61,864 (61%) have been waiting for more than 6 months, up from 46,796 this time last year. This means thousands of vulnerable people living hand to mouth on less than £6 a day, banned from working and clueless as to what their future may hold. This is simply not good enough.
We also remain concerned by the impact of inadmissibility rules, rules the government’s own statistics today show to be pointless, harmful and completely ineffective. For background, these new rules and guidance that came into force at the very end of 2020 see the Home Office issuing ‘notices of intent,’ telling the applicant it is making enquiries of other countries through which the person seeking asylum has travelled.
In 2021, 8,593 people were issued with notices of intent to inform them that their case was being reviewed in order to determine whether their removal on inadmissibility grounds was possible. Where an inadmissibility decision was made, 98% of decisions resulted in the applicant entering the UK asylum system, and only 64 were deemed to be inadmissible, meaning the UK would not admit the asylum claim for consideration in the UK system, because another country was considered to be responsible for the claim. Of these, only 11 people were actually returned to a third country.
In response to these statistics, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:
“It comes as no surprise that today’s Home Office statistics show that the UK, along with our European neighbours, has seen an increase in asylum applications in 2021. Where there is war, conflict and violence – there will be people desperately seeking safety.
“It is important to recognise that 7 out of 10 men, women and children arriving in the UK are found to be fleeing bloodshed and persecution, the likes of which is unfolding in Ukraine, and so are granted protection.
“The UK’s response must be an asylum system that is fair, humane and orderly. A system that processes claims in an efficient and timely manner, granting protection to those who need it and for those who don’t, enabling them to return safely and with dignity to the country from which they came. Sadly, this isn’t the system we currently have, as evidenced by the record number of people left in limbo, waiting longer than 6 months for even an initial decision. This means thousands of vulnerable people living hand to mouth on less than £6 a day, banned from working and left not knowing what their future may hold.
“We urge the government to spend more time on improving decision making on cases on UK soil, and less on threatening to send people away while their claims are being processed. The government’s own statistics today show that their inadmissibility rules are pointless, harmful and completely ineffective. As a country we must do better.”