The number of asylum applications fell by 41 per cent last year,
according to new Home Office figures, writes Amy
The number fell from 103,080 asylum seekers, including
dependants, applying for asylum in 2002 to 61,050 in 2003.
Home Secretary David Blunkett said that the drop in applications
was four times as much as the average across the rest of the EU. He
added that there was a 23 per cent increase in the number of failed
asylum seekers sent back to their home countries last year.
Maeve Sherlock, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said:
“Falling numbers are welcome when they represent real changes in
the world’s strife and conflicts that cause refugee movements.
“The world is not 40 per cent safer than it was a year ago, and
there is real evidence that people fleeing persecution are unable
to get sanctuary in Britain.”
The home secretary had already announced new rules preventing
nationals from eight of the 10 EU accession countries from claiming
benefits in the UK for at least two years.