Asylum applications halved in a year, says Home Office

The government has claimed that it has met its target to halve the number of asylum applicants

Home Secretary David Blunkett published figures today showing a 52% reduction, with 4,225 applications in September 2003 compared to 8,770 in October 2002.

Mr Blunkett also announced that there would be "no let up" in the government's drive to tackle the organised criminal gangs seeking to exploit the system. A new bill to be published today would help to tackle the traffickers, deal with those who are dishonest with the authorities when claiming fear of persecution and introduce speed and finality to the appeals and removals process, he said.

More than 80% of initial decisions are now made within two months, the number of cases awaiting a decision is at its lowest for a decade, a record average of more than 1,500 failed asylum seekers are now being removed each month and the number of applications for support has fallen by 58% since last year, the government said.

Mr Blunkett said: "The measures the government has put in place over the last few years are bringing about a sustained improvement of the immigration and asylum system. The number of applications has halved and is now consistently far below the levels of last year as a result of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act and the historic steps to move UK border controls to France."

The Home Secretary said that agencies were stepping up intelligence operations against organised gangs – with 24 facilitators behind bars and 20 gangs disrupted in the last six months.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

23 August 2005
Asylum applications fall by 11%
The number of asylum applications fell by 11% in the second quarter of this year, according to the latest figures from the Home Office. It was announced that 6,220 asylum seekers, excluding dependents, arrived in the UK between April and June this year.
17 May 2005
Asylum applications fall by 17%
Asylum applications dropped by 17% over the first three months of 2005, according to the latest figures from the Home Office. The Home Office’s quarterly statistics also showed that monthly applications are now at their lowest level since March 1997.
25 May 2004
Asylum applications fall by a fifth: government figures
The number of asylum applications has fallen by a fifth in the past quarter, according to statistics published today. The Home Office published its latest quarterly asylum statistics which found that asylum applications has nose-dived by more than 60% since October 2002.
16 November 2004
Asylum applications rise 9% over last quarter
Asylum applications rose by 9% last quarter, but stand around a third lower than this time last year, according to statistics published today. The statistics for July to September of 2004 found that asylum applications rose by 685, compared to the previous three months.
23 May 2006
UK asylum applications rise
The number of asylum applications in the UK increased by 5% in the first three months of 2006, the latest figures from the Home Office have shown. However, removals of failed asylum seekers have also increased, rising by 19% on the previous quarter and 43% when compared to last year's figures.