Record-high backlog: The UK is facing a historic backlog of asylum claims, with 175,457 individuals waiting for initial decisions as of June 2023, marking a 44% increase compared to the previous year.
Soaring costs: Managing the asylum system has become significantly more expensive, with expenditures reaching £3.97 billion annually in 2022/23. This reflects a substantial increase of £1.85 billion from the previous year and is in stark contrast to the £500.2 million spent in 2012/13.
Small boat arrivals: The Home Office attributes the surge in asylum claims and the backlog, in part, to a growing number of people entering the UK via small boats across the Channel. They view this trend as a burden on the asylum system.
Government response: The government’s top priority is to discourage small boat arrivals, and they are working in collaboration with French partners and other agencies to combat human smuggling.
Limited small boat arrivals: Despite the attention on small boat arrivals, data from the Migration Observatory shows that only 41% of asylum seekers utilized this route in the most recent year, a decrease from the previous year’s figure of 45%. This is noteworthy considering the overall increase in asylum applications.