AS AT JUNE 2023 – Information taken from Refugee Council, UNHCR and Red Cross.       

  1. Situation in the UK
  2. There were 78,768 asylum applications (relating to 97,390 people) in the UK in the year ending June 2023, a 19% increase from the previous 12 months. The increase in applications is likely to be due to the continued global increase in the number of people displaced due to war and conflict.
  3. Refugees, pending asylum cases and stateless persons  in the UK including recent Ukrainians refugees make up only about  half a per cent of the UK’s total population.

·         In proportion to its population, the UK ranks 21st highest in Europe for asylum applications.

  • Developing countries – not the UK – look after most of the world’s refugees
  • Of the 45 million refugees in the world, 74 %, are hosted in low- and middle-income countries. 69 % are in neighbouring countries.
  • Small Boats
  • Between January and June 2023 there were 11,443 people detected arriving.  With an average of 45 people per boat.  This was a slight decrease on the people in the same six months in 2022, with more people per boat (35) than before.  6 in 10 of small boat arrivals were from just five nationalities: Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi, Eritrean and Syrian. 1 in 5 making the crossing were from Afghanistan.
  • 90% of those who crossed the Channel claimed asylum in the UK, but only 360 (1%) people had received a decision by the end of June 2023. Of those who did receive a decision, 176 (49%) were grants of refugee status or other leave.
  • Resettlement Programmes provide only a fraction of those in need.
  • Just 904 people, which includes only 66 from Afghanistan, were granted protection under resettlement schemes in the year up to June 23.  44% fewer than the previous year, which was 79% fewer than 2019.
  • The most common nationalities resettled were Syrian, Sudanese and Iraqi.
  • Where people come from
  • In the UK the top five countries of origin of people seeking asylum were Albania, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and India.
  • Allegations of asylum seekers arriving here illegally
  • There is no such thing as an ‘illegal’ or ‘bogus’ asylum seeker. Under international law, anyone has the right to apply for asylum in any country that has signed the 1951 Convention and to remain there until the authorities have assessed their claim
  • It is recognised in the 1951 Convention that people fleeing persecution may have to use irregular means in order to escape and claim asylum in another country – there is no legal way to travel to the UK for the specific purpose of seeking asylum
  • The 1951 Refugee Convention guarantees everybody the right to apply for asylum. It has saved millions of lives. No country has ever withdrawn from it
  • There is nothing in international law to say that refugees must claim asylum in the first country they reach.
  • The majority of asylum claims are successful.
  • The UK asylum system is strictly controlled and complex. It is very difficult for people seeking asylum to provide the evidence required to be granted protection. Despite these challenges, the majority of asylum claims are successful. In the 6 months up June 2023, 70% of initial decisions resulted in a grant of asylum or other form of protection. Further to that 43% of Asylum appeals were allowed.  This shows poor quality of decision making.
  • The Home Office can take months or even years to decide on asylum case, and there is a growing backlog of cases.  At the end of June of the 175,457 people awaiting a decision, 80% (139,961 people) have been waiting for more than 6 months.
  • Challenges in Family Reunion.
  • In 2023 only 4,671 family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK.   The rules are very restrictive, and this year have badly affected families from Afghanistan.
  • People seeking asylum do not get large handouts from the state
  • The backlog in decision making means that 117,450 people were being supported by the Government, and not allowed to work.
  • People seeking asylum are often living on Home Office support equivalent to under £7 per day.  They do not come to the UK to claim benefits. Most know nothing about welfare benefits before they arrive and had no expectation that they would receive financial support.
  1. People seeking asylum can be detained indefinitely.
  2. The UK Government has the power to detain people who are here seeking refuge. Sometimes this even includes children. There is no maximum time limit in place for people held in detention, meaning people are held indefinitely.
  3. The latest statistics show that there were 1,924 people in detention in immigration removal centres at the end of June 2023. In the same period, there were 20,563 occurrences of people being released back into the community, indicating flaws in the Government’s detention regime.
  1. Children
  2. In the last 12 months, there were 5,186 applications from unaccompanied children, 5% more than the previous year, accounting for 7% of total asylum applications.
  3. Of the children whose claims were decided in the last 12 months, 79% were granted asylum or another form of leave to remain.
  4. The top country of origin for applications from unaccompanied children in the last 12 months was Afghanistan.
  5. Despite a government promise in 2010 to end the practice of detaining children, there were 195 occurrences of children entering immigration detention in the year ending June 2023. This includes 4 children under the age of 11 who were detained and 106 sixteen-year-olds. Under the Illegal Migration Act 2023, the number of children being detained could increase significantly.