Asylum applications to the UK continue to fall

Asylum applications fell by two per cent in the last quarter of
2004, according to the latest Home Office figures published today,
writes Clare Jerrom.

There were 8,465 applications for asylum in the fourth quarter
of last year, compared to 8,605 in the third quarter.

Applications between October and December 2004 were 22 per cent
lower than the same period in 2003. The number of removals also
fell by six per cent compared to the previous quarter.

Immigration minister Des Browne attributed the reduction in
numbers of people claiming asylum in the UK to the closure of
Sangatte, ending appeals in the UK for nationals of safe countries
and “tough legislation to deal with abuse of the system and

“Four out of five new claims are now decided in two months
rather than the 20 months it took in 1997, the number of claims
outstanding is at the lowest level for a decade and numbers
receiving National Asylum Support Service support continue to
fall,” he said, adding that the government was on track to
cut asylum support costs by a third by the end of 2005.

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