Nearly two-thirds of asylum seekers turned out to be bogus - but Britain ended up with £10 billion bill anyway, says report

August 24, 2011

The UK’s asylum system has been costing taxpayers on average more than £2 million a day since 1999 and, once anyone has set foot on British soil, they have a 77% chance of staying – whatever the merits of their case

That is the conclusion of a study by think-tank Migration Watch UK of the outcome of the asylum system over the period 1997 - 2010 published today in advance of the latest statistics due on 25 August.

The study found that only a quarter of those who sought asylum in the UK between 1997 and 2010 were granted asylum, including those granted on appeal.  A further one in seven were granted other forms of protection so 60% were eventually refused altogether.

Of those refused only just over one third were removed with the result that anyone claiming asylum in Britain had a 77% chance of staying here - more often than not illegally. The study also found that, in recent years, the majority of applications (59%) were lodged only after the applicant had been detected.

The cost to the tax payer, including the cost of legal aid and the cost of the immigration courts was close to £10 billion or nearly £2.3 million a day over the period.

The proportion of asylum seekers granted protection in France was found to be significantly lower than in the UK.

Said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migration Watch UK: ‘The asylum system has proved to be a £10 billion shambles. Those who, like ourselves, are serious about protecting genuine refugees should be no less serious about removing bogus claimants and, better still, deterring them in the first place.  The system needs to be much faster.   Delays in the system leave the door open for appeals based on the right to family life without any consideration for the rights of society in general’

‘It also needed to be much tougher on the bogus.  It is absurd, for example, that we should allow people who have been in Britain illegally for years to claim asylum so as to delay or prevent their removal; this now applies to almost 60% of claimants.

‘It is a pity that the lawyers have been so remarkably silent all these years.  The failure of the UK Border Agency to implement the decisions of the immigration appeal courts reduces their activities to a charade and brings the rule of law into disrepute,’ he said.

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