- Iranians who claim asylum have a more than 95% chance of staying on, legally or otherwise
- Only 182 failed Iranian asylum applicants are removed or depart each year despite 925 asylum rejections per annum (including after appeal)
- The British asylum system is less stringent than the one in France
- The UK needs to address the fact that it is seen as a soft touch
Home Office asylum statistics show that there were, on average, 2,530 asylum applications by Iranian nationals each year in the period 2008-2017. Of these, an average of 925 – or 37 per cent – were rejected, including after appeal, each year
During that period, there were, on average, only 81 enforced removals of Iranian nationals with no right to be in the UK each year, while there were also an average of 101 voluntary departures of failed applicants, so 182 per annum.
But the removal/departure figure for failed applicants over the most recent five years (2013-2017) is even lower, averaging at just over 100 per year, while the average number of asylum applications by Iranian nationals during that period was higher – 2,900 per year.
So, an Iranian who applied for asylum in the period 2013-2017 had only a 3.4% of facing removal/departure, or conversely, a 96.6 per cent chance of staying, legally or otherwise.
It should be stressed that the figures relate to asylum applicants who are Iranian nationals over the past ten years. The dates relate to the year in which the application was actually made, not the year in which the removal / departure took place. In addition, there will also be an (unknown) number of Iranian nationals who may arrive by clandestine means but do not go on to claim asylum.
Iran was 9th on the list of top ten countries of citizenship found to be illegally present in the UK in 2010, and 10th on the list in 2008 (see Home Office report).
The most recent Home Office asylum figures also show that 63 per cent of the cases ended with claimants being granted asylum, discretionary leave or humanitarian protection. Only 37 per cent were rejected.
This compared with a much higher rejection rate for Iranians who applied for asylum in France. Latest figures from Eurostat, the EU statistical body, show that in 2017, France rejected 63 per cent of Iranian asylum seekers at first decision and ordered them to leave the country. In the first three quarters of 2018, that rose to 69 per cent.
However, in the UK, the rejection rate for Iranians at the initial decision stage was only 42% in 2017. In 2017, there were 2,570 claims by main applicants, of which 1,071 were rejected at initial decision.
A French government source told the Mail on Sunday that the rejection rate for Iranians was similar to the overall rate for all asylum seekers in France, which stands at around 70 per cent.
The UK currently has a legal obligation under the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees to help those who have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political belief or membership of a group in the event that they are returned to their country of origin. Such people may also be granted Humanitarian Protection if they are fleeing civil war or natural disaster.
However, the scale of clandestine arrivals from Northern France is the tip of an iceberg of a much larger series of failures to control and enforce the border (read our papers on Calais and illegal immigration which recommend proposals for action).
Lord Green of Deddington, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, told the Mail on Sunday: “The British asylum system is less stringent than the one in France and this is partly why people are trying to come through Calais into Britain and not apply in France.”
See the Mail on Sunday‘s reporting of our analysis of the figures.