April 22, 2003The UK has been confirmed as the Number One destination for asylum seekers coming to Europe.
A study of UNHCR statistics reveals that in the 10 years to 2002, the proportion of applicants for asylum to Europe who came to the UK has soared from 5% to 27% - easily outstripping the proportions going to Germany and to France in 2002, the next highest, at 18% and 15% respectively.
The analysis is contained in a wide-ranging paper by think tank MigrationWatchUK as part of its submission to the Home Affairs Select Committee looking into asylum applications.
'The figures show that, contrary to public belief there has been no major increase in the total of asylum seekers coming to Europe in that time,' said Migrationwatch Chairman, Sir Andrew Green. 'Yet while some European countries have managed substantial reductions the number and proportion coming to the UK has increased dramatically.'
He said that while the 'pull' factors of a free and prosperous society, language and settled immigrant populations made the UK an attractive destination, a reluctance to address the key issues and serious administrative weaknesses were at the root of the crisis facing the UK.
'In the face of intense public concern the Government comes up with a series of initiatives that can have only a limited impact on the problem.
'Meanwhile, they are refusing to tackle the underlying legal framework
so as to bring order and fairness into the system. Until they undertake
root and branch reform of the legal framework they will continue
to forfeit public confidence and with it bring a serious threat
to community relations,' he said...
Compiled by UNHCR(Population Data Unit) for 1992 to 2001 - Original source Governments
2002 data from Home Office Asylum Statistics - Q4 2002. Note: Data was not available for Italy so 2001 figures used.
MigrationwatchUK was also dismissive of the planned Accommodation Centres. Sir Andrew pointed out that 3000 places are planned, but at the present rates of arrivals of 2000 a week they would be full in 10 days.
'In the absence of an effective removals mechanism, it is hard to justify the cost of construction of these centres and the disruption to local communities,' he said.
The submission also says that the present system is unfair to genuine asylum seekers - whom it recognises should be offered safety in the UK.
'The present system is clogged with a large number of false claimants who are engendering public hostility, ' said Sir Andrew.
'Furthermore a system which is costing £1.8billion a year
and which is failing to repatriate thousands of failed asylum seekers
is clearly one which brings the law into disrepute and is totally
unsatisfactory to the vast majority of the UK population.