What is the scale of the problem?
From 1992 to 1997 about 30,000 applications were received each year. This number rose sharply to 84,000 in 2002 before falling to about 50,000 in 2003.
These totals do not include dependants. The Home Office only counts dependants who arrive before the initial decision on asylum is taken. These dependants added 30% to the totals. Other dependants, fiancés and spouses follow later but are not identified as such in Home Office statistics.
Why do so many come to Britain?
The Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons in their report 'Border Controls' (January 2001), identified the following 'pull factors':
- family, cultural and historical links
- English language
- job prospects
- availability and perception of social security benefits
- more generous interpretation of asylum law
- slow decision-making on asylum cases
- lack of an efficient remo