The Home Office recently published quarterly immigration statistics on immigration and asylum. The immigration statistics cover the number of asylum applications, total removals of people who have been in the UK illegally and migration from Eastern Europe over the period October to December 2009. According to UK Immigration the immigration statistics show the following:
- Applications by Eastern Europeans to work in the UK under the Worker Registration Scheme fell to 28,495 in fourth quarter of 2009, compared to 30,600 in 2008 and 52,765 in 2007 in the same quarter of these years. UK Immigration says that immigration statistics show that immigration by Eastern Europeans from the 'A8' accession countries of the European Union has fallen.
- There has been a small reduction in overall immigration to the UK; Immigration was 518,000 in the year to June 2009 compared to 531,000 in the year to June 2008.
- The fourth quarter of 2009 saw a drop of thirty percent in the number of asylum applications compared to the same quarter in 2008. The number of asylum applications at 4,765 is according to the government is the smallest number of applications made in almost twenty years.
- Asylum cases are determined more quickly as decisions on asylum have gone up 36 percent compared to the same quarter in 2008. It also appears to be the case that it is now more difficult to claim asylum as only 13 per cent of applications are successful.
- UK Immigration says that as a result of fewer asylum applications being made the number of removals and voluntary departures from the UK has decreased slightly from 67,980 in 2008 to 64,750 in 2009.
Immigration Minister Phil Woolas had the following to say:
'Asylum applications for the last three months of 2009 were the lowest since the early 1990s. Net migration is down, and the new UK Border Agency is increasingly successful.
'Our border has never been stronger, as shown by the fall in the number of asylum applications.
'Our new flexible points-based system also gives us greater control over those coming to work or study from outside Europe, ensuring that only those that Britain need can come.
'We are making the UK a more hostile place for illegal immigrants by issuing foreign nationals with ID cards, checking those who apply for visas against watch lists and fining those who employ illegal workers.'