Today the Government has issued its quarterly immigration statistics up to the end of March 2019.
The figures reveal that the number of asylum applications was 26,547 in the year ending March 2019, an 8% decrease on the previous 12 months. The grant rate for asylum, humanitarian protection or alternative forms of leave was 39% in the year ending March 2019. This is an increase of 9% from the previous year. The latest figures also show that the number of cases awaiting an initial decision or further review has reached a record high of 32,309, whilst the backlog of cases awaiting an initial decision for more than 6-months also reached a record high of 13,994.
Read our Top Ten facts on the latest immigration statistics.
A call for an expansion of resettlement
Resettlement is a scheme by which refugees are given protection in the UK and provide some of the world’s most vulnerable people with life changing, if not lifesaving, support.
Figures released today show that the Government is on track to meet its pledge to resettle 20,000 refugees affected by the conflict in Syria by May 2020. A total of 15,977 refugees have been welcomed through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) since its expansion in 2015.
Welcome news though this is, we remain deeply concerned that the Government has not yet made a new commitment to resettlement post-2020. The UK stands tall as one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to resettlement places. This year the UK is co-Chairing the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, and in July will be hosting an international conference in July organised by the Refugee Council, the UK Government and UNCHR. This event bring people together to share learning and best practice in resettlement and to improve integration support for refugees. As the UK’s current resettlement schemes are due to end next year and no future plans have been announced, the UK’s reputation as a significant resettlement state is in jeopardy and our ability to encourage other countries to resettle more refugees is severely weakened.
As you will read here, alongside Refugee Action and the British Red Cross we are calling for the Government to announce the plans for new schemes as a matter of urgency, and for resettlement to be expanded to welcome at least 10,000 people affected by global conflicts and persecution each year.
Dr Lisa Doyle, Director of Advocacy and Engagement at the Refugee Council, said:
“The Government can quite rightly be proud of what’s been achieved with resettlement in the UK. Resettlement changes people’s lives, and every day we see how refugees are benefitting from being given the vital chance to rebuild their lives in safety.
“However, as the UK’s resettlement schemes are due to end next year, we are at risk of losing the momentum that has built up over recent years in communities up and down the country if the Government does not make a new commitment as a matter of urgency. The need for resettlement remains urgent, and we urge the Government to build on the great success by establishing an ambitious and well-resourced resettlement programme from 2020 that responds effectively to global conflicts.”