The number of asylum seekers awaiting a Home Office decision on their claims has now risen to 175,457. This is the highest figure since records began in 2010. Over the past 12 months, there has been a 57% increase in the number waiting more than six months for a decision. 71% of applicants whose cases have been decided were given permission to remain.

Because of the huge backlog in asylum decisions, the Institute for Public Policy Research reckons that the costs of housing asylum seekers will rise to more than 5bn a year by the end of the next parliament

Under the Illegal Migration Act, migrants arriving by irregular means – including on small boats – are denied any prospect of a hearing, the think tank said.

As most could not be returned home under international or UK law, those who are not sent to Rwanda, where potential numbers are limited to the low hundreds, or another third country – through a scheme the courts have judged to be unlawful – would find themselves in indefinite limbo.

Home Office statistics also show:

  • Between 2004 to 2021, around three-quarters of applicants refused asylum at initial decision lodged an appeal and almost one third of those appeals were allowed.
  • In 2021, 42% of applicants were nationals of Middle Eastern countries, and 23% were nationals of African countries. This pattern shifted in 2022 with the largest nationality groups being Asian countries (31% of applicants) and European countries (24% of applicants).
  • Between 2014 and 2022, 54,000 people were resettled or relocated to the UK through various schemes. Between 2014 and 2020, 20,000 Syrians were resettled under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. In 2021 and 2022, nearly 21,400 people from Afghanistan were resettled or relocated to the UK through various schemes.
  • In 2022, two new routes were introduced for Ukrainians. As of December 2022, around 154,500 people had arrived under these schemes. This flow was much larger in scale than any other single forced migration flow to the UK in recent history. The number of Ukrainian refugees who arrived in the UK in 2022 was equivalent to the number of people granted refuge in the UK from all origins, in total, between 2014 and 2021.
  • We have fewer asylum seekers than most EU countries. In 2021, there were around 9 asylum applications for every 10,000 people living in the UK. Across the EU27 there were 14 asylum applications for every 10,000 people. The UK was therefore below the average among EU countries for asylum applications per head of population, ranking 16thamong EU27 countries plus the UK on this measure.
  • Source: