Number of failed asylum seeker removals falls
By Philip Johnston,
Home Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 3:09am BST 24/08/2007
The deportation of failed asylum seekers has fallen dramatically in the last year.
The number of people applying for asylum fell by 8 per cent last year
Home Office figures published today showed there were 3,280 removed from Britain, including dependants in the second quarter of 2007. This compared with 5,260 removed in the same period last year – a 30 per cent fall.
The figures showed the Government failed to meet its “priority” target to deport more failed asylum seekers than the number of unfounded applicants arriving.
Last year saw 20,700 individuals, including dependants, being recorded as failed asylum seekers, but 18,280 were removed from Britain, a 12 per cent shortfall.
Ministers say the reason for the decline is that enforcement officials are focussing on removing foreign national criminals when they leave prison.
However, there is still a backlog of an estimated 450,000 failed asylum seekers continuing to live in Britain.
At the current rate of deportations it would take 20 years for them all to be removed.
Overall, the numbers claiming asylum continue to fall, reflecting tighter controls and a worldwide reduction in refugee numbers.
Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said: Our stronger border controls are now delivering big drops in asylum applications.
We will double resources for immigration policing.”
Separate figures showed that the number of Eastern Europeans who have arrived in Britain since eight former Soviet Bloc countries joined the EU in May 2004 has reached 683,000.
In addition, the second quarter of this year saw 9,335 arrivals from Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU on January 1.
Applications from the eight Eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004 – known as the A8 – fell to 50,000 from April to June this year, down 2,000 on the previous three months and 6,000 on the same period last year.
In total since 2004, 3,600 A8 nationals have successfully applied for income-related benefits such as Income Support and Jobseekers Allowance.
A further 68,927 have been approved for child benefit payments, and 38,578 for tax credits. Just over 800 have been awarded homelessness assistance.
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