22 May | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

UK trying to discourage asylum seekers after passing Rwanda Bill

Migration Report 2024 shows 6,265 people crosses English Channel till April 21, showing arrival of small boats in UK

The British officials believe that sending asylum seekers to Africa will discourage people from crossing the English Channel in small boats, as the Rwanda Bill has been approved by the UK parliament after months of legal and political wrangling, according to local media outlets.

The Migration Report 2024 showed as many as 6,265 people had crossed the English Channel till April 21. In 2023 as a whole, 29,437 people came to the United Kingdom through small boats. The officials confirmed a big drop from 2022 total of 45,755, which was the highest number since collection of the figures in 2018.

In the year ending March 2024, Afghans were the top nationality crossing the English Channel, making up just under a fifth of all small boat arrivals in this period. The report showed 12% Iranian and 11% Turkish nationals as the two most common nationalities to arrive through the small boats. As per the record, 84,000 people claimed asylum in UK in the year 2023. In 2022, just under 100,000 people requested asylum.

MP Stephen Kinnock accuses British PM of playing ‘fast and loose’ with facts over backlog

The officials also said that number of annual applications for asylum topped at about 103,000 in 2002, as people fled conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia. In 2023, the largest number of the asylum seekers came from Afghanistan. The next biggest group, about 7,400 people, came from Iran, followed by Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

In 2022, Albanians were the top nationality with more than 17,300 people claiming asylum. Most of these arrived on the small boats, as per the record. At April 23, 256,200 visas had been issued to Ukrainian refugees who have come through legal routes set up by the government. There are separate arrangements for a few other specific groups to come to the UK, such as Afghan refugees and some Hong Kong citizens.

Delays in the system have created an overall backlog of more than 128,000 claims. The latest figures show that on April 14, 2024, 2,377 of those applications were still waiting for an initial decision. In 2023, 6,014 people who were not granted asylum were returned to their home country. This is double the number of returns in 2022, but that is mainly because of a rise in Albanian returns.

In the same year, 1,889 people who arrived in small boats were returned. Between 2018 and 2023, 2,580 people were returned, which is two percent of all small boat arrivals in that period. In December 2023, the Home Office stated that 408 non-Albanians who had come on small boats had been returned to their home countries since 2020.

The watchdog suggested that claim may have undermined trust in the government’s use of statistics. The prime minister was also criticized for his use of asylum backlog figures in April 2023. MP Stephen Kinnock accused the prime minister of playing fast and loose with the facts. He said that the prime minister has not cleared the backlog – there are 100,000 people still awaiting a decision.