Asylum applications in the UK from main applicants increased by 41% to 36,465 in the year ending June 2016, the highest number of applications since the year ending June 2004 (39,746). Numbers of asylum applications in the first two quarters of 2016 (8,228 in January to March and 7,810 in April to June) have been considerably lower than in the last two quarters of 2015 (10,231 in July to September and 10,196 in October to December), although still higher than the same quarters a year earlier.
In the year ending June 2016, the largest number of applications for asylum came from nationals of Iran (4,910), followed by Iraq (3,199), Pakistan (2,992), Eritrea (2,790), Afghanistan (2,690) and Syria (2,563). Most applications for asylum are made by people already in the country (90% of applications in the year ending June 2016) rather than immediately on arrival in the UK at a port.
Including dependants, the number of asylum applications increased by 34% to 44,323 in the year ending June 2016. There was around one dependant for every five main applicants. In 2015, around three-quarters (73%) of applicants were male and four-fifths (81%) were aged under 35.
In the year ending June 2016, the number of initial decisions on asylum applications decreased by 7% to 26,350. Of these initial decisions, 38% (9,957) were grants of asylum or an alternative form of protection, compared to 41% in the previous year. Separate analysis shows that for the years 2012 to 2014, 36% of decisions were granted initially, but this proportion rose to 49% after appeal.
Grant rates vary between nationalities. For example, at initial decision, the grant rate for Iranian nationals was 40% (1,219 grants), compared with 12% (239 grants) for Iraqi nationals. Overall, there were 9,957 grants at initial decision for all nationalities in the year ending June 2016, which corresponds to a grant rate of 38%.
There were 1,936 grants of asylum or an alternative form of protection to Syrian main applicants at initial decision in the year ending June 2016. The grant rate for Syrian applicants was 87%, but some of those not granted will have been transferred to have their case assessed by another EU member state (third country), and others may have been found not to be Syrian following their application.
In addition, 2,682 people (including dependants) were granted humanitarian protection under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). On 7 September 2015, an expansion to the existing Syrian VPRS was announced. Through this expansion it is proposed that 20,000 Syrians in need of protection be resettled in the UK by 2020. A total of 2,898 people have been resettled since the Syrian VPRS began, including 2,646 arriving since October 2015. A total of 3,439 people were resettled in the UK in the year ending June 2016 under the Syrian VPRS, the Gateway Protection Programme and the Mandate Scheme.
Estimated figures show the UK had the eighth highest number (44,000) of asylum applications within the EU in the year ending June 2016, including dependants. Germany (665,000), Sweden (149,000) and Hungary (131,000) were the three EU countries that received the highest number of asylum applications, together accounting for 63% of asylum applications in the EU in that period.
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