1. Situation in the UK
  • There were 67,337 asylum applications (relating to 84,425 people) in the UK in the year ending December 2023, a 17% decrease from the previous 12 months.

·         In proportion to its population, the UK ranks 20th highest in Europe for asylum applications.

  1. Developing countries – not the UK – look after most of the world’s refugees
  • Of the 110 million forcible displaced people in the world, 75 %, are hosted in low- and middle-income countries. 69% are in neighbouring countries.


  1. Small Boats
  • In 2023 there were 29,437 people detected arriving. With an average of 45 people per boat.  This was a slight decrease on the people arriving in 2022, with more people per boat (49) than before (41).  6 in 10 of small boat arrivals were from just five nationalities: Afghan, Iranian, Turkish,

Eritrean and Iraqi. 1 in 5 making the crossing were from Afghanistan.

  • 90% of those who crossed the Channel claimed asylum in the UK, but only 25% of people had received a decision by the end of December 2023. Of those who did receive a decision, 8,969 (63%) were grants of protection.
  1. Resettlement Programmes provide only a fraction of those in need.
  • Just 736 people, which includes only 104 from Afghanistan, were granted protection under resettlement schemes in 2023, including community sponsorship schemes. 38% fewer than the previous year.
  • The most common nationalities resettled were Syrian (41%), Afghan (15%), and Somali (10%)
  1. Where people come from
  • In the UK the top five countries of origin of people seeking asylum were Afghanistan, Iran, India, Pakistan and Turkey.
  1. 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 No country has ever withdrawn from it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.


  1. 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 2023, 67% of initial decisions resulted in a grant of asylum or other form of protection. Further to that, up to March 2023, 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 2023 of the 175,457 people awaiting a decision, 80% (139,961 people) have been waiting for more than 6 months.
  1. Challenges in Family Reunion.
  • In 2023 only 9,764 family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK.
  1. People seeking asylum do not get large handouts from the state.
  • The backlog in decision making means that 111,132 people were being supported by the Government, and not allowed to work last year.
  • People seeking asylum are often living on Home Office support of below £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.
  • Almost half, 47,778 people, were placed in contingency accommodation, including 45,768 in hotels.
  1. People seeking asylum can be detained indefinitely.
  • The UK Government has the power to detain people who are here seeking refuge. This even includes children. There is no maximum time limit in place for people held in detention, meaning people are held indefinitely.
  • The latest statistics show that there were 15,864 people in detention, including 6889 seeking asylum, in immigration removal centres at the end of 2023. Until June 2023, there were 20,563 occurrences of people being released back into the community, indicating flaws in the Government’s detention regime.
  1. Newly Granted Refugees.
  • Changes to the length of time between being granted Leave to Remain, and being evicted from Home Office accommodation has put a huge strain on local authorities find accommodation at such short notice and statistics from the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities show that street homelessness among those leaving asylum accommodation has risen sharply, from 44 people recorded in July 2023 to 469 in December 2023.


  1. Children
  • In the last 12 months, there were 3,412 applications from unaccompanied children, some as young as 14 years old. 5% more than the previous year, accounting for 5% of total asylum applications.
  • Of the children whose claims were decided in 2023, 79% were granted asylum.
  • The top country of origin for applications from unaccompanied children in the last 12 months was Afghanistan.
  • Of the children whose claims were decided in 2023, 75% were granted asylum.
  • Despite a government promise in 2010 to end the practice of detaining children, there were 18 occurrences of children entering immigration detention in 2023. Under the Illegal Migration Act 2023, the number of children being detained could increase significantly.



Note: Information taken from Refugee Council, UNHCR and House of Commons Library.