MWUK examines government asylum claims
June 02, 2003
Migrationwatch UK has cast doubt
on whether the government has yet 'turned the corner' on asylum applications
with the release of figures that show the recent downturn was due
to special factors.
The asylum statistics issued by the Home Office on 22 May showed an
unexpectedly large drop of 7,385 in the first quarter of 2003 compared
to the previous quarter's total of 23,385.
||applications by Iraqis fell by
2,245 presumably due to events in the region.
||applications from Zimbabwe fell
by 1,685 as a result of the
introduction of visas.
Another significant factor is the
reduction in "in-country" applications by 30% from most
countries and 50% from Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia. This accounted
for 2,330 of the drop. The restriction of benefits to late applicants
is clearly a factor in this; the number of claimants was inflated
in January the previous quarter as they brought forward claims to
beat the deadline.
According to UNHCR figures there was an overall fall of 19% across
Europe (with 22% of applicants coming to Britain). This may also be
reflected in the totals.
A reduction in port applications would indicate improved border controls.
We have identified the following falls:
|Zimbabwe (visa regime)
|Eastern Europe (new on the safe
|Afghanistan (improved conditions
|Jamaica (visa regime)
These account for about 90% of the
reduction in port applications. The remaining 320 (or about 3 per
day) could be attributed to tighter border controls.
Commenting on the analysis, Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch
UK said "It is now clear that more than half the drop was due
to special factors. It is too early therefore to say that we have
turned the corner. So we welcome the further measures the Government
have foreshadowed concerning the destruction of documents and reducing
the present four levels of appeal. We have called for both."