Asylum applications to UK down by 21% from last year

The number of asylum applications to the UK has dropped, but the UK government said it is not removing failed applicants from the country fast enough. There were 6,220 asylum applications to Britain, excluding dependants, between April and June this year against 7,915 in the same period last year, a fall of 21%.

The figure is also an 11% drop on applications in the first quarter of this year.

Home Office minister Tony McNulty said this proved the government was fulfilling its promise to bring the asylum system under control. But he accepted that a 2% decline in the number of failed asylum seekers removed from Britain in April-June against the same period last year left work to do. A new five-year-plan says that the number of failed applicants removed each month exceeds unsuccessful new applications.

There was a 3% rise in deportations from April to June against January to March. But the 3,095 deported remains lower than the 6,045 applications initially refused in the same period.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, meanwhile, said Britain should not be proud that fewer people were seeking safe haven in the UK.

"We should always be welcoming those fleeing persecution but be firm with removing those who don't have a genuine case," the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Mark Oaten, said.