The number of asylum applications increased by 8% in 2013 (23,507) compared with 2012 (21,843), according to new statistics released by the Home Office.
The increase was particularly driven by rises in applications from Syrians, Eritreans and Albanians but is still well below the peak number of applications in 2002 (84,132).
The number of initial decisions which resulted in a grant of asylum, a form of temporary protection or other type of grant increased to 37%.
In 2013, the largest numbers of applications for asylum were from people from Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka and Syria.
Refugee Council Policy Officer Judith Dennis said: “Given the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria and on going concerns over human rights abuses in countries like Eritrea; it’s unsurprising that the number of people seeking protection in the UK has risen.
“These figures clearly demonstrate the need for the UK Government to ensure people fleeing oppressive regimes will always be supported as they seek safety here by providing access to an asylum system that is both fair and efficient.”