Figures for 2020 show that the UK was 20th among Euro nations for asylum applications received per head of population, and 19th for applications granted. The UK did receive six applications for every 10,000 people that year, and ranked 14th per head of population by that measure, when compared with EU nations only.
On March 7 on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme, SDLP MP Claire Hanna said: “The UK is 14th in Europe for the number of asylum seekers it processes and accepts. For example, the UK has about six applications for every 10,000 people in the UK and the European average is 11. So it’s not the case that people want to come here in mass numbers.”
This isn’t quite right.
During 2020, the UK received six applications for every 10,000 people in the UK, ranking it 14 out of EU27 countries plus the UK. However, the number of applications received is not the same as the number of applications that were processed or the number that were accepted.
Compared with all EU+ nations (meaning the 27 EU members plus the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), the UK actually ranked 20th in terms of applications processed per capita, and 19th for applications accepted for the year 2020.
The House of Commons Research Library briefing paper Asylum Statistics, published in March this yearn shows that the UK received 29,815 applications in 2020, the 5th highest total among the EU27 countries plus the UK. In terms of asylum applications received per head of population, the UK was 14th highest in 2020. There were approximately six asylum applications for every 10,000 people living in the UK in 2020. Across the EU27 in the same timeframe, there was an average of 11 asylum applications for every 10,000 people.
An analysis of Eurostat data shows that the UK made initial decisions – i.e. processed – a total of 14,304 asylum applications in 2020. This was the 8th highest number of claims processed among the 32 EU+ nations. Taking population sizes into account, the UK ranked 20th in asylum claims processed per capita that year.
According to Oxford University’s Migratory Observatory, the UK made 9,115 grants of asylum (i.e. accepted applications) in 2020. That was the 7th greatest total amongst EU+ countries, and with protection granted to 0.1 asylum seekers per 1,000 of its population, the UK was 19th among EU+ nations, when adjusted for population size.