Grants of Asylum 2017
In 2017, there were 14,767 grants of asylum, alternative forms of protection and resettlement, compared with 15,156 in the previous year. This comprised:
- 7,469 grants of asylum to main applicants and dependants (down 11%)
- 1,086 grants of alternative form of protection to main applicants and their dependants (down 29%)
- 6,212 people provided with protection under a resettlement scheme (up 19%)
Of the 14,767 people granted asylum, protection and resettlement, 5,866 were children (under 18 years old). Additionally, 5,218 Family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK, a 14% decrease since last year. Of these, 2,677 were issued to children.
The number of asylum applications in the UK from main applicants decreased by 14% to 26,350 in 2017. The number of asylum applications in the UK has been lower for two consecutive years, following a steady increase in the number of applications that coincided with the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. There were 845 grants of asylum or alternative forms of protection to Syrian nationals (including dependants) at initial decision in 2017.
A total of 6,212 people were resettled in the UK in 2017 under various schemes. This included 4,832 Syrian nationals who were provided protection under the VPRS, making a total of 10,538 Syrians provided protection since the scheme began in 2014.
Asylum applications and Initial Decisions
In 2017, the number of applications for asylum in the UK (main applicants only) was 26,350, a fall of 14% compared with the previous year. This is a fall for the second consecutive year following a year-on-year increase coinciding with the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Of the 21,290 initial decisions on asylum applications from main applicants, 32% were grants of asylum or an alternative form of protection, compared to 34% in the previous year. Including dependants, the number of people granted asylum or another form of protection (such as humanitarian protection or discretionary leave) in 2017 was 8,555. Of these, 2,774 were children (under 18 years old).
The largest number of asylum applications in 2017 came from Iranian nationals (2,569 applications), followed by nationals from Pakistan (2,483) and Iraq (2,366). Of the 5 nationalities with the highest number of applications, 4 saw falls compared with the previous year, and 1 (Sudan) saw an increase.
The number of applications from Syrian nationals was 55% lower than in 2016 (from 1,376 to 617). However, there was an 11% increase in the number of Syrian nationals being granted protection in the UK through other means such as the VPRS (from 4,369 to 4,832).
Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children
A UASC is a person under 18 years old, or in the absence of documentary evidence establishing age appears to be under 18, with no relative or guardian in the UK who is applying for asylum in his or her own right. There were 2,206 asylum applications from UASC in 2017, a 33% decrease compared to the previous year.
The largest numbers of asylum applications from UASC were from Sudanese and Eritrean nationals, together accounting for 30% of all UASC applications. This was followed by Vietnamese nationals (12%) and Albanian nationals (11%).
Of the 1,998 initial decisions relating to UASC made in 2017, 1,154 (58%) were grants of asylum or another form of protection, and an additional 378 (19%) were grants of temporary leave (UASC leave). A further 23% of UASC applicants were refused. This will include those from countries where it is safe to return children to their families, as well as applicants who were determined to be over 18 following an age assessment.
Support Provided to Asylum Seekers
Section 95 support is provided to destitute asylum seekers until their claim is finally determined. Section 95 support can be provided as either accommodation or subsistence, or both. An individual may be eligible for Section 4 support if their asylum application has been determined as refused and appeals rights are exhausted, but they are destitute and there are reasons that temporarily prevent them from leaving the UK.
At the end of December 2017, a total of 40,736 people in the UK were in receipt of support under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This number is 3% higher than in the previous year. The total figure remains considerably below that for the end of December 2003 (the start of the published data series), when there were 80,123 people in receipt of Section 95 support. Separately, at the end of December 2017, there were 4,114 people receiving support under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, a 9% increase from the previous year.
In addition to those who are granted asylum in the UK, resettlement schemes are offered to those who have been referred to the Home Office by The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
In 2017, a total of 6,212 people were resettled in the UK under various resettlement schemes, consisting of:
- 4,832 under the VPRS
- 539 under the Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme (VCRS)
- 813 under the Gateway Protection Programme
- 28 under the Mandate Scheme
Provisional data show that of those resettled in the UK in 2017, 3,092 were children (under 18 years old), an increase of 21% on the previous year. On 7 September 2015, an expansion to the existing VPRS was announced. Through this expansion, it was proposed that 20,000 Syrians in need of protection be resettled in the UK by 2020. A total of 10,538 people have been resettled under the VPRS since the scheme began. In 2017, 4,832 people were resettled under the VPRS across 234 different local authorities, 2,405 of these were children.
Family Reunion Visas
A Family reunion visa allows a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18 of those granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK to reunite with them in the UK. Family reunion visas are a subset of the ‘Family: other’ visa category. Around 99% of ‘Family: other’ visa grants, as published in the visa tables, relate to Family reunion visas. However, data on Family reunion visas come from a different system to other visa data so are not directly comparable. In 2017, 5,218 Family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those granted asylum or humanitarian protection. Of these, 2,677 were children (aged under 18).
27,331 individuals Enter Detention Estate
In 2017, 27,331 individuals entered the detention estate (down 5% compared with the previous year) and 28,244 left the detention estate (down 2%).
At the end of December 2017, there were 2,138 persons held in the detention estate (excluding HM Prisons), a fall of 22% compared with 12 months earlier. Additionally, 407 individuals were held in HM Prisons.
The number of EU nationals who were returned, or voluntarily departed the UK on leaving detention, was 4,612 in 2017, compared with 4,048 in the previous year.
The total number of enforced returns from the UK, including those not directly from detention, decreased by 1% to 12,321 in 2017 compared with 12,469 in the previous year.
Provisional data show that 5,835 Foreign National Offenders (FNOs) were returned in 2017 down 5% compared to 6,171 in the previous year; of these:
- 67% were EU nationals (3,881)
- 33% were non-EU nationals (1,954)
- In the second half of 2017, 13,554 people entered the detention estate; of these, 1,671 (12%) entered through prisons.
- As at the end of December 2017, there were 2,138 people in the detention estate. In addition, 407 immigration detainees were held in HM Prisons
Deportation 12,321 people Forcibly Removed
The total number of enforced returns from the UK, including those not directly from detention, decreased by 1% to 12,321 in 2017 compared with 12,469 in the previous year; of these:
- 23% of the total were enforced returns of people who had previously sought asylum (2,884), up 12% from the previous year (2,581)
Top Five Destination Countries
|Home Office Charter Flights:
1. Number of males removed 385
2. Number of females removed 23
3. Number of escorts 842
4. Number of flights in total 9
5. No children were returned.
Number flights to each country / number removed to each country
Albania 4 Flights 198 Returnees
Bulgaria/Czech Republic/France 1 Flight 24 Returnees
Ghana/Nigeria 1 Flight 55 Returnees
Pakistan 3 Flights 131 Returnees