Today the Government has published its migration statistics for the year ending March 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 ten facts based on the latest asylum stats.
1. Britain is not Europe’s top recipient of asylum applications. Germany, Sweden, France and Italy all receive significantly more applications than we do.
2. Asylum applications to the UK remain low: in the year ending March 2015, 25,020 applications were received in Britain, 31,407 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.
3. World events often correlate directly with asylum applications. Unrest in Syria and South Sudan and a new wave of forced conscription in Eritrea led to rises in applications from those nationalities. The top 5 nationalities applying for asylum in the year ending March 2015 were:
4. 40% of initial decisions made in this time period were grants of some form of protection. A contributing factor could be the high recognition rate of Eritrean (85%) and Syrian (85%) refugees.
5. There was a fall in the number of unaccompanied children granted protection, down from 73% during the same period last year to 66% in the year ending March 2015. Sadly, this protection usually expires after 2.5 years and many children will not be given further leave.
6. The number of Syrian refugees resettled in Britain stood at just 187 since the conflict began. A pathetic number, as the total number of Syrian refugees approaches the 4 million mark. Britain can and should be doing so much more to help.
7. The backlog in cases awaiting a decision rose 10% to 21,651 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.
8. The proportion of asylum appeals allowed in the year ending March 2015 was 28%. Many refugees have to rely on the courts rather than the Government to recognise that they are in need of protection.
9. At the end of the year ending March 2015, 30,476 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.
10. In the year ending March 2015, 13,871 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, 121 children were imprisoned during this time. Nearly half of the children who left detention were released, rendering their detention not only harmful but futile.