Although the annual number of principal applicants for asylum has remained below 26,000 for the last four years there is an increasing number of Sri Lankans (1,475) but these are not yet back to the levels of 1999-2002. There has been an increase in the number of Afghans but, again, not back to the levels of 1999-2002. Those from China at 1,400 are the lowest for ten years.
There are now more asylum seekers coming from Africa than from Asia: top of the list are Zimbabweans at 3,165 (almost double the number in 2007) and Eritreans (2,255) with Somalians lower at 1,345. Of 2,800 appeals heard against refusal of asylum April-June this year overall 26% were successful but this masks the disparity in success rates: 44% (of a total of 580) Zimbabweans won their appeals, 46% of Somalians, 35% of Sri Lankans and 39% of Eritreans. “Such figures mean that commentators must be careful before they label all asylum seekers as having unfounded claims” commented Keith Best, IAS Chief Executive.
Of 710 applications by Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children April-June this year more than half were from Afghanistan. “This complements my own findings when I visited “the jungle” in Calais recently – a wooded area where mostly Afghan asylum seekers sleep rough under homemade coverings where I met children aged 12, 13, 14 and 16″ said Keith Best. Yet that figure is boosted by a further 265 age disputed cases in the same quarter. This amounts potentially to some 4,000 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children a year coming to the UK.”
“The Government trumpets widely its success at removing those no longer entitled to remain in the UK yet in April-June 2009 of 15,515 total so-called removals half (7,445) were refused entry at the port and subsequently removed. 5,585 were enforced removals or where persons leaving voluntarily had notified the UK Border Agency (of whom 1,540 were refused asylum seekers). Only 505 were assisted voluntary returns of irregular migrants. Others were voluntary departures. These figures show the disparity between the annualised figures of more than 60,000 “removals” and the reality of only about 20,000 being identified and then removed in the sense that most of the public would understand. Only 80 Zimbabweans went home.
Keith Best said “These figures do not demonstrate an ability by the Government to remove illegal migrants from the UK despite the extra resources devoted to this. Assuming that there are almost 1 million irregulars in the UK it would take 50 years to remove them all. That is why the Government and the Opposition need to follow the lead of the Liberal Democrats and agree to an earned regularisation programme so that a status can be given to those who are making a contribution to the UK and enforcement action concentrated on those who are doing most harm.”
Predictably, as the Government pushes residents into becoming British citizens there is a year-on-year increase of 21% in nationality applications to 172,000. Yet there is a decrease The number of Poles applying to work under the Worker Registration Scheme has plummeted to under 13,000 in April-June.
Nevertheless, there has been a large increase in those being granted settlement in the UK: now running at over 180,000 a year (of which the largest increase and number is employment-related grants: some 80,000. Family reunion has seen a smaller increase and numbers about 68,000 a yea