© Crown copyright 2018
This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: email@example.com.
Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.
This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-october-to-december-2017/how-many-people-do-we-grant-asylum-or-protection-to
Data relates to 2017 and all comparisons are with 2016, unless indicated otherwise. This section contains data on:
- asylum applications and initial decisions
- unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC)
- international comparisons of asylum trends
- asylum support
- Family reunion visas granted
- transfers under the Dublin regulation
We provide a more detailed commentary on an annual basis. This is included in ‘Immigration Statistics, April to June 2017’.
1. Key facts
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.
2. 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.
Number of asylum applications in the UK, 2001 to 20171
Table as 01 q (asylum tables, volume 1)
- Main applicants only.
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).
Number of asylum applications from the top 5 nationalities in 2017, compared with 20161
Table as 01 q (asylum tables, volume 1)
- Main applicants only.
3. 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.
Data on UASC can be found in Asylum tables as 08 to as 10 (volume 3).
4. 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. See the user guide for more details.
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.
Data on support provided to asylum seekers can be found in Asylum tables as 15 to as 18 (volume 4).
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.
Number of people resettled in the UK, 2010 to 20171
|Year||Total resettled||Of which: children|
Table as 19 q (asylum tables, volume 4).
- These age data are provisional and subject to revision.
Resettlement data can be found in Asylum tables as 19 and as 20 (volume 4).
6. 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. Data on the number of applications and their outcome for ‘Family: other’ visas are found in visas table vi 01 q.
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).
7. Dublin Regulation
The Dublin Regulation (‘Dublin III’) is EU legislation that establishes the criteria and mechanisms for determining which single State is responsible for examining an application for international protection (an asylum claim). The Dublin III Regulation applies to all 28 EU member states, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
In order to identify a single State that is responsible for examining the asylum claim, the Dublin Regulation uses a number of specific criteria listed in descending order of importance to identify the responsible State, enabling the transfer of an asylum applicant once responsibility has been agreed. Where no responsible Dublin state can be designated on the basis of the criteria in the Dublin Regulation the first State in which the asylum claim is lodged shall be responsible.
Data in this section relate to both the number of requests to transfer asylum applicants and number of actual transfers into the UK from other Dublin states, and from the UK to other Dublin states.
The criteria for determining the Dublin state responsible for examining the asylum claim, along with further details on the Dublin regulation, are set out in the user guide.
In 2017, there were 461 transfers in to the UK under the Dublin regulation. Greece accounted for the highest number of transfers (187).
There were 314 transfers out of the UK under the Dublin regulation. The majority (168) of which were transferred to Germany.
There were 2,137 requests to transfer into the UK under the Dublin regulation in 2017, and 5,712 requests to transfer out of the UK.
Transfers into the UK and out of the UK under the Dublin regulation, 2015 to 2017
|Year||Transfers in to the UK||Transfers out of the UK|
8. International comparisons
Figures in this section are based on data supplied by the individual countries to the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC), UNHCR and Eurostat. Not all countries provide the latest data in time for each ‘Immigration Statistics’ release. Where a figure is unavailable for a given month, data are estimated using the average of the last 3 months available, unless the time series is erratic whereby the average of the last 12 months is taken.
Including dependants, the total number of asylum applications to the EU in 2017 was an estimated 668,600, a decrease of 46% compared to the previous year (1,246,100).
Top EU countries receiving asylum applications, 2017
|Country of application||Total applications|
|United Kingdom (Home Office data)||33,500|
Table as 07 q (asylum tables, volume 3).
- Eurostat figures are rounded to the nearest 5 and so may not sum to the total.
- The estimated figures in this chart are based on data supplied to IGC and UNHCR.
9. Data tables
Data referred to here can be found in the following tables: