Asylum Statistics

Unheard Voices has teamed up with a number of leading asylum and migration organisations to find the answers to frequently asked questions about asylum, refugees and the immigration system in the UK and the world.

Asylum Statistics from the Institute of Race Relations

In the second quarter of 2011, 4,253 initial decisions were made on asylum claims and 70 per cent were refused. 27 per cent of asylum appeals were accepted in this same time period, indicating that in these cases the individuals in question were wrongly refused protection when their asylum claims were initially determined.

Source: Institute of Race Relations


The number of people detained for ‘immigration purposes’ (to facilitate their removal, process asylum/immigration claims or to establish their identity) in the UK has increased massively since the powers to detain were introduced in the 1970s. About 28,000 people were detained for immigration purposes in the UK in 2010, the majority of whom were asylum seekers. 188 people were detained in 1975. There is no statutory time limit on how long a person can be detained and many people are held for years.

Source: Institute of Race Relations


Individuals subject to immigration control can be deported if the Secretary of State deems their removal from the country as ‘conducive to the public good’, or when recommended by a court. Individuals can be removed if they have violated the conditions of their leave to remain, have violated visa conditions, or have entered the country without permission. An individual can be classed as voluntarily departing the country if enforcement proceedings have been instigated but s/he arranges to leave the country themselves (in conjunction, or not, with one of various ‘voluntary return’ schemes).

In 2008 the UK Border Agency claimed that it ‘removed’ one person from the UK every eight minutes. In 2010, 39,030 people were deported, removed or ‘voluntarily departed’ (left ‘voluntarily’ after the process of forced removal had been initiated) from the UK, a slight increase when compared to 2009.

Source: Institute of Race Relations

The majority of those who are deported or removed are not asylum seekers. In 2010, 9,850 asylum seekers were removed, indicating a decrease when compared to the year before. This decrease is in tandem with decreasing numbers of people claiming for asylum

Source: Institute of Race Relations

About The Author

Multimedia Web & Video Journalist

I am a Multimedia Web and Video Journalist, enthusiastic mountain biker and lover of nature. I am passionate about communication and its power to improve a person's life. My dream is to expose injustice and give a voice to those who are largely ignored. I am the senior video journalist and director at multimedia production company Humbledinger, which I run with my husband, filmmaker Joe Bream. Joe and I spend our 'free' time making short documentaries and films that will give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

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