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
    delays”.

    “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.

    Statistics from www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html

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