Latest figures for asylum seekers demonstrate failure of Government to protect our borders

November 29, 2002

Commenting on the statistics on asylum seekers for July to September 2002, published on November 29, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of MigrationwatchUK said:

'The latest figures for asylum seekers are bad news for the Government and for the country.

They show that Government policy has completely failed to achieve any reduction in the numbers coming here, which continue to climb. Meanwhile they have failed to remove all but a small percentage of those who have no right to remain.

The last quarter was the highest on record and 20% above the same quarter last year. Including dependants, asylum seekers are now arriving at the rate of 116,000 a year. Meanwhile, removal of those who have no right to remain in Britain are still only at a rate of 14,000 a year. By contrast, other countries in Europe such as Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and Norway are achieving substantial reductions.

We welcome the end of the policy of Exceptional Leave to Remain because of the way in which it has been abused as a 'back door' into Britain. For example in the years 1997- 99 virtually all applicants from Iraq or Afghanistan were granted either asylum or ELR. It is hardly a surprise that applications from both countries took off in the following two years.

Our concern therefore is that similar mistakes will be made again.
There is a real danger that the new status of 'humanitarian protection'
will simply be substituted for ELR and that particular interest groups will pressurise the Government.

The people of Britain have a right to expect their Government to protect our borders. On today's evidence they are clearly failing in that task.'

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