Asylum applications fell by 13 per cent to 9,210 in the second
quarter of 2004, new official figures have revealed,
writes Amy Taylor.
The government has attributed the fall to the closure of
Sangatte centre in Calais, the introduction of fast-track
processing, and “tough new legislation”.
However, Margaret Lally, deputy chief executive of the Refugee
Council, described the fall in applications as “extremely
“The government claims to be offering a safe haven to
people fleeing persecution. It is therefore extremely worrying that
the number of people offering sanctuary here in the UK has fallen
so dramatically when we are seeing widespread repression and
conflict in many parts of the world.”
The number of people removed in the same period, excluding
dependents, fell by six per cent to 3,130. The government put this
down to nationals from the 10 European Union accession countries
now being able to work in the UK.
But figures show there has also been a six-fold increase in the
number of asylum seeker children being detained in removal centres
in the last six months.
Sixty asylum seeker children were detained in centres at the end
of June. This is double the number of children detained in March
The latest figures also show that over 16 per cent of children
were detained for longer than 14 days, way above the time
recommended by chief inspector of prisons Anne Owers.
N Asylum Statistics: 2nd Quarter 2004 UK from: www.homeoffice.gov.uk