Asylum-seeker approvals at highest in 30 YEARS over Brexit: ‘Significant shift’

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According to the Government department, the rate of asylum seekers granted permission to stay in the UK is the highest in more than 30 years because of Brexit. It comes as record numbers of migrants crossing the Channel in small boats, with 9,327 arriving so far in 2022.

Three quarters of all initial decisions on applications over the past year were grants of asylum.

The rate of approvals is significantly higher than previous years as 2021 was the first year in which Britain was no longer a member of the EU’s Dublin agreement.

It allowed the UK to reject applications on the basis that asylum seekers should make their claim in other European countries which they passed through before coming to Britain.

The 75 percent approval rate is the highest rate since 1990, when 82 percent of asylum seekers were granted the right to stay.

The rate is even higher for the most popular nationalities who claim asylum in the UK, with 98 percent of Syrians, 97 per cent of Eritreans, 95 percent of Sudanese, 91 percent of Afghans and 88 percent of Iranians approved.

Overall asylum applications hit 55,146 in the 12 months to March 2022, the highest since 2003.

It is 7,000 higher than the previous figure recorded in the 12 months to December last year.

The asylum backlog continues to hit record levels, with 110,000 people still awaiting a decision at the end of March this year.

The backlog has been driven both by a decline in the number of decisions in 2020 and 2021 and an increase in applications, particularly during last summer.

Dr Peter William Walsh, of the Migration Observatory, told The Times: “The government has recognised three quarters of asylum applications as valid over the last year.

“This is a significant shift compared with a few years ago, when the majority of asylum applications were initially refused, even if many of these were later overturned on appeal.

“We now see majorities of positive decisions across a range of groups, from young men to older women.

“This highlights that policies targeting asylum seekers will inevitably affect some people who would be granted refugee status if their claim was processed in the UK.”


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Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, also told the outlet the high numbers of people claiming asylum reflected a global trend.

He added: “It comes as no surprise that UK, along with our European neighbours, has seen an increase in asylum applications in 2021.

“Where there is war, conflict and violence — there will be people desperately seeking safety.

“It is important to recognise that seven out of ten men, women and children arriving in the UK are found to be fleeing bloodshed and persecution, the likes of which is unfolding in Ukraine, and so are granted protection.

“The UK’s response must be an asylum system that is fair, humane and orderly not one that treats people as human cargo with a price tag to be shipped to Rwanda.”

However, despite the surge in application approvals, preliminary data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed 12,000 more EU citizens left the UK in the last year than arrived in the year to June 2021.

That was against a net increase of 24,000 in the previous year, which included six months of movement before Brexit took place and nine before Covid travel restrictions came into effect in March 2020.

Overall migration to the UK fell from 260,000 to 239,000, spurred by an increase in immigration from outside the EU.

Jay Lindop, director of its Centre for International Migration, said: “The 12 months to June 2021 was a period when migration behaviour was impacted by the restrictions imposed to manage the coronavirus pandemic as well as ongoing changes in migration policy following Brexit.

“Bringing together the best sources of data we have available, our latest estimates of net migration suggest that around 239,000 more people came to the UK than left, driven by non-EU immigration.

“Due to the data collection challenges posed by the pandemic, we’ve used new, experimental, methods to produce today’s numbers and these will be finessed over the coming months as more data becomes available, including census numbers.

“While the figures give a snapshot of migration during the pandemic, they should not be compared with historic trends and are subject to change.”

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