New asylum schemes should be dropped and the present chaos tackled

New asylum schemes should be dropped and the present chaos tackled

December 29, 2023

To get their Illegal Immigration Act through Parliament, the government is making provision for present refugee resettlement schemes to be supplemented by a ‘cap’ to be set on an annual basis by MPs. Labour is proposing an unworkable scheme to allow claimants to apply for asylum at British embassies.


  • Immigration to the UK is already at a record of more than 700,000 per year
  • Repeated government pledges to cut immigration have not been delivered
  • There are major strains on housing, schools and the NHS due to massive immigration-fuelled population growth.
  • Nearly 60% of the public are opposed to the current scale of immigration, of which asylum forms a significant part.

A paper issued by Migration Watch UK today sets out the present situation. A dozen or so schemes for direct refugee immigration have been established in the last 18 years. In total – 585,000 refugees (and their family members) have arrived since 2005.

Read the paper here

The Hong Kong route – opened in 2021 – has seen 185,000 arrive but about three million could qualify if they chose to move to the UK. Visa schemes for Ukraine are unlimited and have so far permitted well over a quarter of a million people to come to the UK. Some might, of course, return home if conditions permit.

So far about 21,000 Afghans have also been re-settled in the UK.

Meanwhile, the number of people coming to the UK in small boats from Northern Europe which ran at about 45,000 last year, stands at just under 30,000 this year so far.

In the Illegal Immigration Act, the government made provision – from January 2025 - to continue direct refugee immigration via three presently-existing routes but with the added element of an annual cap to be set by Parliament. This scheme will not, in practice, be put in place until after the next General Election.

Importantly, this cap would not include the present routes from Hong Kong and Ukraine – which are the two biggest humanitarian routes presently open – nor would it include the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) under which more than 11,000 people have been able to settle in the UK.

Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Chairman of Migration Watch UK, said:

The asylum scheme is already in chaos. The government should drop their scheme for an annual cap which would be a prime target for the asylum lobby.

The public are seriously, and rightly concerned about the huge strains imposed on public services, communities and especially housing. Over the last two years immigration and asylum have added the population of Birmingham to the UK population. The public have already had enough. Now is the time for sensible caution.

Meanwhile Labour’s scheme to allow asylum claimants to make applications at UK embassies in Europe would plunge our immigration asylum system into a new depth of chaos.

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