Memo to the press on Med crisis: UK rejected 72 per cent of asylum claims this year

Is Britain too generous as the Daily Mail implies? Not according to the data

More Med migrants


Today’s Daily Mail is aghast to hear a United Nations official suggest that Britain should ‘take in more Med migrants’.

Peter Sutherland, UN special representative for migration, saying Germany and Sweden have granted more asylum claims during the recent crisis in the Mediterranean than has the UK, nearly earned him an editorial column in the Mail. (This appears to have been bumped for other columns).

The implication of that underlined ‘more’ is that we are already too generous, thanks very much.

But official figures from the Home Office show that nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of asylum claims this year were refused by the UK.

In the first quarter of 2015, the UK received a total of 5,955 asylum applications. In the same period, the UK made 8,976 initial decisions on these and earlier applications.

Of these 5,744 were refused, while 3,232 were granted, including 2,784 on the grounds of asylum.

When you subtract 1,011 cases withdrawn by applicants, the number refused by the UK amounts to 72 per cent of decisions so far this year.

So Britain is refusing asylum to nearly three quarters of applicants.

Is this because we have more claims than other countries? No. 

According to the European Commission, the UK wasn’t even in the top five destinations for asylum seekers in 2014, coming in sixth below Germany, Sweden, Italy, France and Hungary respectively.

If you rank countries’ asylum claims by population, the UK came 19th after such economic powerhouses as Bulgaria.

And yet the UK refused to grant asylum in two thirds (67 per cent) of all application decisions in 2014.

Meanwhile, the UK has only accepted 143 out of a possible 4 million displaced Syrians as of March this year.

While overall migration numbers are certainly growing, it is wildly misleading to suggest the UK has been over-generous about granting asylum – whether during the ongoing crisis in the Med or generally over the last year.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

Read more: 

Daily Mail says boats of migrants should be stopped ‘by any means necessary’

Daily Mail says Syrian refugees turn Greek holiday town into ‘disgusting hellhole’

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15 Responses to “Memo to the press on Med crisis: UK rejected 72 per cent of asylum claims this year”

  1. JodiTOberg

    Reset your job with leftfootforward Find Here

  2. Cat

    When has the Daily Mail ever cared about facts?

  3. Selohesra

    Perhaps if we didn’t have 200K+ net EU migration already we could be a bit more generous – seems to me fairer to take people on merit (either needs or what they offer) than have to give priority to EU migrants seeking a better life here but who I am sure would not swap places with those coming from Syria, Libya etc

  4. JoeDM

    “UK rejected 72 per cent of asylum claims this year”

    And how many of them have been sent back? How many are playing the system with continuous appeals and legal tricks?

    The ones coming across the Med should never be allowed onto European soil. They should be repatrieated by the boat that picks them up.

  5. damon

    I’m still waiting to hear Adam Barnett’s solution for this crisis.
    Until then, this is all just posturing.
    It’s obvious from the figures though that most asylum claims are bogus and that it’s these people who have broken the system making real refugees suffer.

  6. Cole

    All the recent research suggests there are about the same number of EU migrants living in the UK as UK migrants living in the rest of the EU. Of course you won’t hear about this in the Tory press.

  7. Dave Stewart

    could you provide a link to this? I’d be very interested to read it. Thanks

  8. Dave Stewart

    No it is not obvious. Those figures do not provide any information regarding the veracity of the asylum claims. The only thing you can infer from this data is that the UK rejects nearly 3/4s of claims. That could be because they are bogus or it could be clerical error or it could be the UK is systemically refusing as many claims as possible, or it could be the rules are set up so most people fail and so on and so on. The reason behind these numbers could be more or less anything and you nor I nor anybody else armed with only this data can make any fact based assertion regarding the veracity of asylum claims.

  9. Cole

    https://eu and others. Basically came out of a parliamentary question last year.

  10. damon

    The asylum system broke because so many people were claiming it who weren’t entitled.
    Tens of thousands clogged the thing up and dragged claims out through the courts.
    It became another way to force your way into a first world country.
    Perhaps we should have liberalised the immigration system as some people have suggested.

    But lets not pretend that all or even most people who claim asylum are legit. Or even that we are meant to take every person from countries where their is strife or they face possible persecution – now even being gay is seen as ground for asylum. It’s about numbers for me.
    I heard on the BBC radio 4 news at 1pm today a young lad from Senegal saying how he was tortured by smugglers/kidnappers in Libya ….. and he briefly mentioned that he’d left Senegal to escape some fighting or civil strife. Poppycock.
    If there is trouble in some part of a generally stable country, the first thing to do is move to another part of that country. The capital for instance.

    Like millions of Kurds have done in Turkey. They didn’t all need to go to Germany and Europe. It’s a bit daft that we still have loads of Turkish Kurds living in England when Turkey is now safe for them to go back to.
    The same with Tamils from Sri Lanka. I just spent the winter there and the country seemed totally safe. Even Jaffna and the north.
    I had expected the Tamil areas to be heavily militarised – but they weren’t.
    Even the northern town of Kilinochchi which was heavily damaged in the war, was peaceable and busy with people coming and going without much hassle from the army.
    When we took in thousands of Tamils, what we really did was take in thousands of Tamil Tiger supporters who helped wage the war over there from over here.

  11. g978

    Most people don`t want hundreds of thousands of foreigners with no affinity for the UK (family ties, history etc). Just coming here. You will note Italy takes even less than us if we were sixth in the list.

  12. Dave Stewart

    You made an assertion based on some statistics which was wholly unjustified by the content of those statistics so I challenged that assertion and point out that based on those numbers alone that it was impossible to derive any causation. You make another assertion in your response to me which is again not supported by the statistics in the original article and you provide no further evidence to support this assertion. Can you not see why this undermines your argument?

    Also on another point the reason being gay is accepted as a reason for asylum claims is because being gay can get you tortured and killed in many parts of the world. The point of the asylum system is to give people under threat of torture and death (amongst a few other things) somewhere safe to escape to where they are not under that threat. It’s based on the concept of universal human rights which this along with many other countries have signed up to.

  13. damon

    I don’t disagree with you. I’d be quite supportive of gay people seeking asylum in Britain or anywhere else. It’s quite open to abuse though. Because it’s so hard to migrate from third world countries through normal channels. I had always wanted to live and work in the USA and even asked at a US embassy once and was just told no. It was bit disappointing.

    As to your legalistic approval to these figures etc, I don’t say you’re wrong, it’s just that I’m fed up with the spin and half truths put forward by pro migrant and asylum seeker spokespeople. So many people took advantage of the asylum process that the system broke down and the general public became a bit exasperated with asylum as a whole.
    Just look at the people at Calais for an example. They clearly have no case for asylum in the UK as they are already in a safe country. But they want to start new lives in the UK because they know or think it will be advantageous for them.
    And how many young Afghan men are we supposed to take? All who can manage to get here? What about their mothers and sisters? If you observe the asylum ”scene” in a particular place you will soon see how people are taking the mickey.
    I have in West Croydon near where I live. Many live in bedsits and hostels and have taken to the street corner lifestyle. Meaning, you always see them hanging about on London road,and have made it that they know all about what goes on down on the street there far more than most gormless locals. There’s a bookmakers by the station and if you go in you will always see some of them hanging about either playing or watching the gambling machines. And there’s an internet cafe there where they hang out in, skyping their families back home etc. I was also in Vienna two summers ago, and used to frequent this cheap interment place in the red light area where a lot of new immigrants were also living and hanging out. This place was open 24 hours a day, and as I was camping in the woods, I used to also spend some time in it. It was run by Afghans or Kurds or some such people, and all the customers were similar young men.
    Some even slept there on the floor I saw a couple of times.
    Collectively they’re not the nicest of people. They are like the Calais migrants in that regard. Their journeys and living on their wits free from the control of adults has led to a certain selfish lying and cheering kind of culture among them. They probably thought I was some weirdo, the white guy with the backpack. For many of them its the great overseas adventure – and I don’t blame them for taking it. I stayed illegally in the USA for a year myself in the 1980s.
    But everything about these young guys is dodgy and untrustworthy IMO. Why wouldn’t it be? They have come to seek their fortunes and can only see all the people of the countries they have come to as the strange other people you need to manipulate to get what you need. My sister worked with some of these young men in a council funded hostel. Some even lied about their ages – and why wouldn’t you if knocking a few years off your age made a huge difference to how you were treated?

    When I was living in Ireland I also made a trip to a big asylum camp they have there north of Dublin. A former Butlins holiday camp. Walking from the main road to the camp, a resident stopped his car to give me a lift. He was a Nigerian and had been there a couple of years. The place was full of people who had dragged out their asylum cases through the courts.

  14. Cole

    Whatever. I was just pointing out that the number of EU immigrants to the UK was about the same as the number of UK migrants to the rest of the EU. For all I know the Spaniards don’t like loads of Brits ‘with no affinity’ to Spain filling up their towns.

  15. g978

    We aren`t talking about people coming to retire and bringing with them money to buy housing etc. We are talking about people with no affinity and no money coming (and usually without advanced job skills).

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