In 2015 there were just 32,414 applications for asylum (excluding 6,464 dependents), up 29% since 2104 but much lower than the 84,130 applications in 2002. The UK figures do not reflect the magnitude of the world situation.

There were 3,043 applications for asylum in the UK in 2015 from separated or unaccompanied children.

The UK is host to less than 1% of the world’s refugees. The UN Refugee Agency has said that some of the poorest countries in the world, in the developing regions, were hosting 86% of refugees in 2015. 

In 2015, there were six asylum applications for every 10,000 people resident in the UK. Across the EU28 [the 28 member countries of the European Union] there were 26 asylum applications for every 10,000 people. The UK is therefore below the average among EU countries for asylum applications per head of population, ranking 17th among EU28 countries on this measure.

House of Commons Library: Briefing Paper SNO14003, Asylum Statistics, page 3, March 2016.

It is not easy to be granted refugee status in the UK. In 2015, 61% of initial decisions were refusals: 34% (9,975 applicants) were granted asylum and just over 5% (1,416 applicants) were given Humanitarian Protection (HP), Discretionary Leave to remain (DL) or some other form of protection. During 2015, 35% of appeals were allowed in the case of 3,234 applicants.

A very small number of refugees, up to 750 per year, can be brought to the UK under the Gateway Protection Programme, run jointly with the (UNHCR). These people from very troubled areas of the world apply in camps abroad and are interviewed there by British immigration officials. The successful applicants are then brought to the UK, with the agreement of local authorities, prepared to participate in their integration. In 2015 652 refugees, including dependants were resettled in the UK via the Gateway programme as well as 1,194 resettled under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

At the end of 2015, 1,250 who had claimed asylum at some stage were in immigration detention.

Including dependents, 5,184 people who had been seeking asylum, were removed or left the country voluntarily, in 2015.

Sources and Further Information
Refugee Council briefing, May 2016, Asylum Statistics Annual Trends
Refugee Council Web Site: The Truth about Asylum
House of Commons Library: Briefing Paper SNO14003, March, 2016. Asylum Statistics