North West Statistics

This section has been adapted from Asylum datasets on the Government’s Website.

In March 2023 there were a total of 18,176 Asylum Seekers supported on Sections 95, 98 and 4 in the North West. It is the first time that the Home Office published the Section 98 data per local authority. It was not included in total number of people seeking asylum before Quarter 4 2022, therefore comparisons with previous years are not possible.

Section 95
Section 95 provides support for asylum seekers who have an asylum claim or appeal outstanding and failed asylum seekers who had children in their household when their appeal rights were exhausted and includes those in receipt of: 
       - Dispersed accommodation - An applicant can be in receipt of accommodation and support
       - Subsistence only - whereby the applicant receives cash to support themselves but who have found their   own accommodation.

Section 98
Section 98 provides support to destitute asylum seekers who are awaiting a decision on their Section 95 application.

Section 4
Section 4 support is available when an asylum application has been finally determined as refused, but people are destitute and there are reasons that temporarily prevent them from leaving the UK. Section 4 regulations require all recipients be accommodated.
Section 95Section 98Section 4Total
Number of Asylum Seekers per Type of Support in the North West

All figures reflect the number of people in receipt of support as at the end of the period, rather than the total supported throughout the period. The number of people in receipt of support changes daily.

Sub-regionNumber of People
Liverpool City Region5,299
Greater Manchester8,160
The total number of People Seeking Asylum in each North West sub-region

Liverpool and Manchester were two local authorities with the highest number of people seeking asylum in receipt of all types of support. Halton and Liverpool had the highest number of people seeking asylum per 100,000 population.

The North West share of the overall UK Asylum population in December 2022 was 16%. The North West share of all those supported on Section 95 remained higher, at almost 21%.

National Statistics

This section has been reproduced from How many people do we grant protection to?

Data relates to year ending March 2023 and all comparisons are with the year ending March 2022 (unless indicated otherwise). Additional comparisons are also provided with the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic period and for longer-term trends.

All data include dependents, unless indicated otherwise.

An asylum application may relate to more than one person, if the applicant has family members (or ‘dependants’) which they request to be covered by the same application. This release features data on both the number of asylum applications or initial decisions (‘main applicants only’), and the number of people related to asylum applications and initial decisions (‘main applicants and dependants’).

Small boat arrivals accounted for 44% of asylum applications in the year ending March 2023. More information on asylum claims from small boat arrivals and other irregular arrivals can be found in the ‘Irregular Migration to the UK statistics’ Home Office report.

1. People granted protection and other leave through asylum and resettlement routes

The UK offered protection to 22,648 people (including dependants) in the year ending March 2023 comprising:

  • 16,805 people granted refugee permission following an asylum application
  • 120 granted temporary refugee permission
  • 947 granted humanitarian protection
  • 362 granted alternative forms of protective leave (such as discretionary leave, UASC leave)
  • 4,414 resettled to the UK through resettlement schemes

Additionally, 4,612 partners and children of refugees living in the UK were granted entry to the UK through family reunion visas. This is around a quarter (23%) fewer than the number in the year ending March 2022.

The number of people offered protection in the year ending March 2023 is 31% lower than in the year ending March 2022 (32,970 people), due to high numbers coming through the Afghan routes (ACRS and ARAP) in 2021. However, the number offered protection in the year ending March 2023 is still 9% higher than in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic (when 20,692 people were offered protection).

2. Asylum applications

There were 75,492 asylum applications (relating to 91,047 people) in the UK in the year ending March 2023. This is 33% more applications than in the year ending March 2022 (56,560, relating to 66,838 people), and the highest number for 2 decades.

Top 10 nationalities (excluding Stateless) claiming asylum were Albania, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

3. Outcomes of asylum applications

3.1 At initial decision

In the year ending March 2023, there were 19,706 initial decisions made on asylum applications, 35% more than in the previous year. This suggests a return to pre-COVID-19 levels of decisions (20,766 decisions were made in 2019).

Just under three-quarters (74%) of the initial decisions in the year ending March 2023 were grants of refugee status, humanitarian protection or alternative forms of leave. Since 2021, the grant rate has been between 72% and 77% – substantially higher than in pre-COVID-19 years when only around a third of initial decisions were grants. Prior to this, the previous high was over 30 years ago: 82% in 1990, although actual volumes were lower at that time – 4,025 initial decisions in 1990, compared with 19,706 in the year ending March 2023.

Of the nationalities that commonly claim asylum in the UK, Afghans, Eritreans, Syrians and Sudanese typically have very high grant rates at initial decision (98%, 99%, 99% and 83% respectively). As noted, a significant proportion of the people applying for asylum in the UK at present are from nationalities who are seeing high grant rates. Albania is an exception – it was the top nationality claiming asylum in the year ending March 2023 but the grant rate for Albanian nationals over the same period was lower than the overall grant rate, at 34%. Similarly, India was the fourth most common nationality applying for asylum but had a grant rate of just 5%.

3.2 At appeal

Some initial decisions (mainly, but not entirely, refusals) will go on to be appealed. Appeals against an initial decision made by the Home Office will be considered by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), part of the Ministry of Justice.

There were 4,300 appeals lodged on initial decisions in the year ending March 2023. This is 15% more than in the year ending March 2022 and the first year-on-year increase since 2018.

Of the appeals determined in the year ending March 2023, around half (53%) were allowed (meaning the Home Office was asked to reconsider their decision). The proportion of appeals allowed has risen from 29% in 2010, when the time series began.

3.3 Applications awaiting outcomes

At the end of March 2023, there were 133,607 cases (relating to 172,758 people) awaiting an initial decision. This is 50% more than the number of applications awaiting an initial decision at the end of March 2022 (89,344, relating to 109,735 people). The number of cases awaiting an initial decision has increased over the last 10 years and more rapidly since 2018, when there were 22,100 cases awaiting an initial decision (at the end of March).

Of the 133,607 cases awaiting an initial decision, 78,954 (59%) applications were ‘legacy’ cases made before 28 June 2022, and 54,653 (41%) had been made on or after 28 June 2022 (referred to as ‘flow cases’).

The rise in cases awaiting an initial decision since 2018 is due to more cases entering the asylum system than receiving initial decisions.

Initial decision asylum backlogs have formed before. Previously published Home Office statistics show that the current backlog is slightly larger than the previous peak in backlog seen in 1999 (around 125,000 main applicants). For more information, see The Migration Observatory’s article on the asylum backlog.

Data on the total number of outstanding cases in the asylum system (‘asylum work in progress’) is published in the ‘Immigration and Protection’ data of the Migration Transparency Data collection. This data includes cases awaiting initial decisions and appeal outcomes, as well as failed asylum seekers that are subject to removal from the UK and numbers of staff in the asylum system. The latest data available (for the end of June 2022) shows a total of 166,085 cases as ‘work in progress’ in the asylum system as a whole.

4. Inadmissibility

From 1 January 2021, following the UK’s departure from the EU, updated inadmissibility rules came into effect. The inadmissibility rules provide the grounds for treating an asylum claim as inadmissible to the UK asylum system, if a person has earlier presence in, or connection to, a safe third country. It also provides for the person to be removed to that or another safe third country, with that country’s permission.

Between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2023:

  • 55,447 asylum claimants were identified for consideration on inadmissibility grounds
  • 24,083 ‘notices of intent’ were issued to individuals, to inform them that their case was being reviewed to determine whether removal action on inadmissibility grounds was appropriate and possible
  • 83 individuals were served with inadmissibility decisions, meaning the UK would not admit the asylum claim for consideration in the UK system, because another country was considered to be responsible for the claim, owing to the claimant’s previous presence in, or connection to a safe country
  • there were 23 enforced removals of individuals considered for removal on inadmissibility grounds
  • 27,644 individuals were subsequently admitted into the UK asylum process for substantive consideration of their asylum claim

The 23 returns were made to Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

5. Support provided to asylum seekers

People in the asylum system who are destitute receive support from the UK Government. This could be the provision of accommodation, subsistence (cash support) or both, overseen by the Home Office.

At the end of March 2023, there were 112,294 individuals in receipt of asylum support, 32% higher than at the end of March 2022. This continues the long-term trend of increasing numbers in receipt of support, which grew more rapidly following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when the ‘Home Office temporarily ceased ending asylum support’ for those whose claims have been either granted or refused, to ensure people were not made homeless during ‘lockdown’. The increase more recently is related to rising asylum applications and the consequent increase in the number of cases in the asylum system.

Of the 112,294 individuals in receipt of support:

  • 42% were in hotel accommodation
  • 54% were in other accommodation
  • 4% were in receipt of subsistence support only

Sources and Update information

Asylum seeker data is taken from the Immigration Statistic Year Ending March 2023 provided by the Home Office.
Population data is taken from the Mid 2021 Population Statistics provided by the Office for National Statistics.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

This page was last updated in June 2023. The next update is expected in September 2023.