Putting aslyum into perspective

There are a number of common myths and misconceptions that are
perpetuated throughout the media and politics. Here, we provide the
facts behind the headlines.

Myth: The majority of all asylum seekers worldwide come
to the UK

Fact: The UK takes under 2 per cent of the
world’s asylum seekers, with the vast majority fleeing to
countries bordering their own.  72 per cent of asylum seekers
worldwide are granted refugee status by developing countries.

Myth: The UK accepts more refugees than any other
country in the EU

Fact: The UK ranked 11th in the EU for total
refugee admissions compared to the national population from

Myth: Asylum seekers come to the UK because of the
significant benefits available to them

Fact: Asylum seekers may receive government
support of £37.77 per week – 30 per cent below the UK
poverty line. In 2001/2002 the government spent £1 billion on
asylum support.  This is less than the benefits available in many
other European countries.

Myth: Asylum seekers and refugees come for the easily
accessible benefits and make no active contribution to

Fact: In 1999/2000 migrants in the UK made a
contribution of approximately £2.5 billion and 90 per cent of
UK employers want to take on refugees to meet skills shortages.
According to the British Medical Association, there are about 3,000
refugee doctors who could be employed to relieve acute staff
shortages. Asylum seekers are also not allowed to work and refugees
are only allowed to work six months after being granted asylum.

Myth: Asylum seekers and refugees bring disease and
illness to the UK

Fact: Of the 5,500 asylum seekers tested for TB in
Ashford since last June no positive result has been found. 
According to the Geneva Convention, asylum cannot be denied on
health grounds.

Myth: Many asylum seekers are bogus and not in need of
protection and refuge

Fact: 15 per cent of applications were refused on
procedural grounds such as failing to complete the statement of
evidence form where they are made to explain, in English, their
reason for seeking asylum within the required 10-day period, or
failing to turn up to interviews.  20 per cent of applications are
accepted on appeal.


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