- Home Office figures show requests for asylum hit 10,156 in three months
- Figures from July, August and September were highest in 12 years
- Showed a 64 per cent surge from April-June when 6,203 sought asylum
The migration crisis which engulfed Europe over the summer has led to a sharp rise in asylum-seekers in the UK.
The number of people seeking sanctuary in Britain in the three months to September hit 10,156 – up 64 per cent from the 6,203 between April and June, according to the Home Office.
It was the highest figure recorded for 12 years.
The increase coincided with the height of the chaos at Calais when some 5,000 immigrants camped in the city made desperate attempts to stow away on lorries, trains and ferries to sneak over the English Channel.
Same time: The surging figures cover the time period of chaotic scenes in Calais - pictured above as migrants try to overwhelm lorry traffic into Britain
Through the tunnels: Migrants are pictured on the tracks in August not far from the Channel Tunnel
Blaming the UK for the situation, French politicians said the migrants saw the country as a soft touch with lavish benefits and the prospect of illegal work and accommodation.
The issue escalated when more than 850,000 migrants made their way to Europe after fleeing humanitarian disasters in Africa and the Middle East. Many were able to make their way across the continent unhindered once they had made it to the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone.
Of the 10,156 migrants claiming asylum in the UK between July and September, 1,516 came from Sudan, followed by Eritrea with 1,385, Iran 863 and war-ravaged Syria 796.
In the year to the end of September, there were 29,024 main applications for asylum, not including spouses, children or other family members – 19 per cent higher than the 24,324 people who sought refuge in the previous 12 months.
Of those arriving here, 2,402 came from Syria – none of them through Government schemes to bring displaced people from the war.
But only 12,011 – or 41 per cent – were granted asylum or alternative protection.
It meant nearly six out of ten failed in their claim, including because they were considered economic migrants who came to the UK to work.
However, the number of asylum seekers remained a fraction of the record 84,000 who arrived in the UK in 2002 under Tony Blair.
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of think-tank MigrationWatch, said: ‘We need to keep a close eye on the scale of asylum claims. It will be particularly important to sort out the economic migrants as quickly as possible and return them to their countries of origin.
We must make sure we don’t become a destination of choice for people who don’t genuinely need protection.’
But Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Despite an increase in the number of asylum applications in the UK over the summer, refugees and asylum seekers still represent only 5 per cent of non-British immigration.’
The Home Office said: ‘World events have an effect on which nationals apply for asylum at any particular time. The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of offering sanctury to those who genuinely need our protection.
‘All claims for asylum are considered on their individual merits, and where people establish a genuine need for protection from persecution, refuge will be granted.
‘However, if people do not need our protection they are expected to leave the UK and we may remove them if they do not go voluntarily.’