UNHCR has today issued its 2010 statistical overview of asylum applications lodged in 44 industrialized countries.
Amongst other things, the report shows that:
1. Asylum applications to industrialised countries have almost halved in the last decade;
2. The UK has seen its lowest level of asylum applications since 1989;
3. In 2010 the UK received a mere 6% of the total number of asylum applications made to industrialised countries. This is below France, US, Sweden and Germany. The figures for those countries are: US- 15%, France -13%, Germany 12%, Sweden 9%;
4. Per every 1000 inhabitants, there were 0.4 asylum applications made in the UK in 2010;
5. The UK ranked 19th out of 44 industralised countries in relation to receipt of asylum applications per number of inhabitants. Cyprus, Malta, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg all received a higher number of asylum applications per inhabitant than the UK.
6. The main nationalities of asylum seekers in the industrialized world in 2010 were: Serbia – 8%, Afghanistan- 7%, China- 6%, Iraq- 6%, Russian Federation-5%, Somalia- 5%, Islamic Republic of Iran 4%.
The effect of tighter controls?
The UNHCR says that it will examine the reduction in asylum applications with a view to seeing whether this can be attributed to tighter controls in countries of asylum or/and other push factors. Certainly, given the flurry of activity within the EU over the past decade, it would be fairly remarkable if it transpires that this hadn’t played a highly significant role in asylum numbers.
It’s of course also worth keeping in mind that this report only looks at the industrialised world. The reality is that far more applicants seek asylum, and are hosted in the non-industrialised world. It’s also worth recalling that despite much hysteria over human movement only 3.1 % of the entire world’s population are migrants.