North West Statistics

In September 2020, there were a total of 9541 asylum seekers placed in dispersed accommodation located in the North West. The following graph shows the distribution by sub-region.

This number is a increase of 20 from the September 2019 figure. The asylum trend from 2014 onwards can be seen below:

The North West share of the overall UK asylum population is 22.5%, a decrease of 0.6 points from the September 2019 figure. The change in overall share from 2014 is shown below:

In June 2019, the North West had a rate of 13.51 asylum seekers per 10,000 people in the region, the second-highest regional density in the UK.

National Statistics

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

Data relates to the year ending September 2020 and all comparisons are with the year ending September 2019, unless indicated otherwise.

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. A range of restrictions relating to the outbreak began on 12 March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised against all non-essential overseas travel on 17 March 2020, and advised all British travellers to return to the UK on 23 March 2020, the same day as the first UK lockdown measures were announced.

Restrictions were put in place across Europe and other parts of the world in the run up to the UK outbreak, which will also have impacted travel to the UK prior to these dates. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK immigration system, both in terms of restricting migrant movements to and from the UK and also operational capacity.

Year ending comparisons that follow will include impacts resulting from the restrictions put in place during this period of the pandemic.

This section contains data on:

  • Asylum applications and initial decisions, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC)
  • Resettlement
  • Family reunion visas granted
  • Asylum support
  • Dublin regulation

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

The UK offered protection, in the form of asylum, humanitarian protection, alternative forms of leave and resettlement, to 12,984 people (including dependants) in the year ending September 2020, 33% lower than the previous year, The fall in people granted in the latest year is due to fewer initial decisions following an application to the UK, as well as the pause to resettlement activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of grants of protection and alternative forms of leave in the year ending September 2020 included:

  • 8,908 grants of asylum, down 23% compared with the previous year, with the top nationalities that received grants being Iranian (1,699), Eritrean (1,063), Sudanese (1,056), and Afghan (682) nationals; all these nationalities saw falls in grants in the latest year
  • 1,183 grants of humanitarian protection, up 8% – over half of these (56%) were granted to Libyan nationals, also a notable increase in grants awarded to El Salvadorian nationals (160 up from 18), following an increase in applications since year ending December 2018
  • 733 grants of alternative forms of leave following an application for asylum, down 38%
  • 2,160 grants of protection through resettlement schemes, 61% fewer than in the previous year, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic preventing resettlement activity since March 2020 onwards; over four-fifths (81%) of resettlement cases over the past year were Syrian nationals

In addition to those granted asylum, humanitarian protection and alternative forms of leave at initial decision following an asylum application, there will be additional people granted following appeal (see section below on ‘Grant Rate’).

Additionally, 6,066 Family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those previously granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK, 6% fewer than the previous year.

The increase in people granted protection since 2018 is primarily due to an increase in the initial grant rate for asylum applications, which rose from 35% in 2018 to 49% in year ending September 2020. The overall grant rate can vary for a number of reasons, including the mix of applications received, and the protection needs of those who claim asylum in the UK, along with operational or policy decisions.

Figure 1: People granted1 asylum, alternative forms of leave2, and resettlement3 in the UK, years ending September 2011 to September 20204,5

The number of people granted asylum or other forms of leave has increased since year ending September 2011, from 7,127 to 12,984 in the year ending September 2020, which is down 33% from the previous year due to COVID-19.

Source: Asylum applications, initial decisions and resettlement – Asy_D02

  1. Grants at initial decision. Actual number of grants at final decision (following appeal) will be higher.
  2. ‘Alternative forms of leave’ include grants of humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, grants under family and private life rules, leave outside the rules and UASC leave, that resulted from an asylum application.
  3. Resettlement data prior to 2013 are only available annually. Data for individual quarters in this period have been estimated by taking 25% of the annual total.
  4. Dotted line shows March 2020, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
  5. Includes main applicants and dependants.

1.1 Resettlement

It was not possible to undertake resettlement activity during the second and third quarter of 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, there is no data for either quarter. The Home Office expects to recommence resettlement arrivals as soon as conditions allow, and planning is underway to enable this to happen once it is safe to do so.

The Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) accounted for over three-quarters (4,030) of those resettled in the UK in year ending March 2020, the latest data available due to coronavirus. Since the government announced the expansion of the scheme on 7th September 2015, including the target of resettling an additional 20,000 refugees under the scheme by 2020, 19,768 refugees have been resettled in the UK. In addition, 239 refugees were resettled prior to this, and do not count towards the 20,000 target.

A further 416 people were resettled under the Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) in year ending March 2020, bringing the total to 1,826 since the scheme began in 2016.

Of those resettled under the VPRS and VCRS in the year ending March 2020, 168 refugees were resettled in the UK through the Community Sponsorship scheme, Since the scheme began in July 2016, 449 refugees have been resettled by community sponsor groups.

Details of the schemes can be found in the ‘About the statistics’ section.

Once 20,000 VPRS refugees have been resettled, the UK has announced plans to resettle around 5,000 of the world’s most vulnerable refugees in the first year of operation of a new resettlement scheme. The new resettlement scheme will consolidate the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme and the Gateway Protection Programme into one global scheme.

2. Asylum applications

There were 31,752 asylum applications (main applicants only) in the UK in the year ending September 2020, an 8% decrease from the previous year, although the latest figure will have been impacted by the measures taken in response to COVID-19.

Figure 2: Asylum applications lodged in the UK, years ending September 2011 to September 20201

Applications rose slowly from 2011 to 2015, and more rapidly in the European Migration crisis (2015-16). Applications fell after the crisis but by the end of 2019 had returned to similar levels. Levels have fallen since March due to COVID-19.

Source: Asylum applications, initial decisions and resettlement – Asy_D01

  1. Includes main applicants only.

Iran was the top nationality claiming asylum in the UK in year ending September 2020 (4,318 applications, down 9% compared with the previous year), followed by Albania (2,820, down 10%). About three-fifths (60%) of applications from Iranian nationals were granted at initial decision, compared to around a third (32%) of those from Albanians, although additional numbers may be granted following appeal (see below).

Figure 3: Top 10 nationalities1 claiming asylum2 in the UK and grant rate3,4 at initial decision (%), year ending September 2019 and year ending September 2020

Of the top ten applying nationalities, Eritrea and Syria have the highest grant rates (81% and 78% respectively), and India has the lowest grant rate, at 4%.

Source: Asylum applications, initial decisions and resettlement – Asy_D01 and Asy_D02

  1. Top 10 nationalities in the most recent year.
  2. Includes main applicants only.
  3. The percentages in the chart are the grant rate at initial decision for each nationality in the most recent year.
  4. Grant rate is the proportion of initial decisions which resulted in a grant of protection or other leave. Grant rate is based on year of initial decision and is not directly comparable to applications, which are based on the date the asylum application was made.

Eurostat Asylum statistics show the total number of asylum applications across the EU+ and the UK decreased by 10% in year ending June 2020 (the latest period available for comparable statistics) compared with the previous year, with falls in applications to Italy (down 22%), France (down 20%) and Germany (down 24%). Some countries saw increases, such as Greece (up 7%) and Spain (up 28%). The highest number of applications received in the EU+ in the year ending June 2020 were received by Germany (133,330 applications) and France (117,225 applications). The applications to the UK (39,540 applications) would be equivalent to the 5th largest of the EU member states in year ending June 2020, accounting for only 6% of total intake. However, this would represent only the 18th largest when measured per head of the population (according to the population estimates published on Eurostat Demography and migration statistics).

Figure 4: The number of asylum applications from the top 5 nationalities1 in the EU and from the UK for the years ending June 2014 to June 20202,3

While many countries had a substantial increase in 2015 and 2016 due to the European migration crisis, the UK experienced a smaller increase compared to other European countries.

Source: Eurostat Asylum statistics

  1. Top 5 nationalities in the most recent year.
  2. Includes main applicants and dependants.
  3. The ‘Other EU+’ category includes all other countries that are European Union member states, part of the European Economic Area, and Switzerland.

2.1 Grant rate

In the year ending September 2020, there were 15,733 initial decisions made on asylum applications, and around half (49%) of these were grants of asylum, humanitarian protection or alternative forms of leave (such as discretionary leave or UASC leave), similar to the previous year (48%).

Data from the Home Office ‘cohort’ analysis, published annually in Asy_D04, show that the final grant rate typically increases by 10 to 20 percentage points following appeal. More detailed analysis can be found in the August edition of Immigration Statistics relating to the outcome of asylum applications.

Grant rates vary considerably by nationality as the protection requirements of specific nationalities or individuals vary. Of those nationalities that commonly claim asylum in the UK, Libyans (93%) and Eritreans (81%) typically have high grant rates at initial decision, while nationals of India (4%), Bangladesh (17%) and China (22%) typically have low grant rates.

3. Support provided to asylum seekers

At the end of September 2020, 46,520 asylum seekers in the UK were in receipt of support under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, a 5% increase on the previous year (44,156).

Of these, 42,389 (91%) were in receipt of both accommodation and subsistence, and 4,131 (9%) in receipt of subsistence only. More than four fifths (83%) were located in England, with smaller supported populations in Scotland (9%), Wales (6%) and Northern Ireland (2%).

The top 5 nationalities in receipt of Section 95 support at the end of September 2020 were from Iraq (6,605), Iran (4,773), Albania (4,618), Pakistan (3,148), and China (2,693). These 5 nationalities together represent almost half (47%) of the total receiving Section 95 support, but account for 38% of the total asylum intake for the year ending September 2020.

An additional 6,074 individuals were in receipt of support under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, providing support where a claim has been rejected, up 57% from the previous year (3,857).

There were 10,315 individuals in receipt of support under Section 98, nearly 2.4 times higher than the same time in the previous year (3,049). The sharp increase is likely related to COVID-19, for further information follow the link detailing the use of temporary hotels to house asylum seekers during COVID-19. Section 98 support is provided to asylum seekers on a short-term basis while their application for Section 95 support is considered.

In 2019, the latest data available, there were 20,009 applications for Section 95 support.

4. Dublin Regulation

In 2019, the latest year available, there were 2,236 requests from other member states to transfer individuals into the UK under the Dublin Regulation. There were 714 transfers into the UK under the Dublin Regulation. The majority (496) of these transfers came from Greece.

Over the same period, there were 3,258 requests from the UK to transfer individuals out of the UK to return them to other member states. There were 263 transfers out of the UK under the Dublin Regulation. Of these transfers, 104 (40%) were transfers to Germany and 53 (20%) were transfers to France.

5. The impact of COVID-19

The Home Office published a separate report on 28 May 2020, which provided a statistical overview of COVID-19 impacts on the immigration system into April 2020. However, there are further changes visible in the period to the end of September 2020.

In the third quarter of this year (July to September 2020), the number of people granted protection or other forms of leave was 78% lower than the same period in 2019. Following falls in March and April 2020, there was a sharp increase in decisions being made between May and July 2020, although numbers have dropped slightly between August and September.

At the same time, asylum applications in the third quarter of 2020 fell by 7% compared with the same quarter in the previous year, although applications have been steadily increasing each month since the sharp fall seen in April 2020.

At the end of September 2020:

There were 46,520 individuals in receipt of Section 95 support, an increase of 5% since 31st March 2020 (44,244) and an increase of 2% since 30th June 2020 (45,769).

An additional 6,074 individuals were in receipt of support under Section 4 support up 49% since 31st March 2020 (4,077) and up 13% since 30th June 2020 (5,357).

There were 10,315 individuals in receipt of support under Section 98, 3 times higher than 31st March 2020 (2,577), and an 89% increase compared to 30th June 2020 (5,444).

6. About the statistics

This section provides information on those applying for and granted protection in the UK through both asylum and resettlement routes, as well as information on the numbers in receipt of asylum support.

The data are used to assess the trends in numbers of people seeking and being granted protection, the impact of policy changes, and to understand the demographics of those coming to the UK to claim protection. Data on resettlement and support, broken down by local authority, can help local authorities understand the demands on their services and resources to aid with planning.

The Home Office has developed an ‘Indicators of Integration framework’, based on a range of publicly available data, which can be used to assess the progress of integration projects supporting the settlement of refugees or other migrants.

6.1 Asylum, resettlement and protection

The total number of individuals granted protection includes grants related to an asylum application (grants of asylum or alternative forms of leave) and resettlement. Alternative forms of leave include humanitarian protection, discretionary leave, UASC leave, leave outside the rules, and grants under family and private life rules. Further details can be found in the user guide.

Data on asylum applications relate to the period in which the application was lodged, and initial decisions relate to the period in which the decision was made. Initial decisions may, therefore, relate to an application made in an earlier period, and thus the two are not directly comparable.

Data on initial decisions will not reflect the total number of people granted protection through asylum routes as some initial decisions may be overturned following appeal. Data on the number of appeals lodged, and their outcomes, are published in Asylum appeals lodged and determined – Asy_D06 and Asy_D07.

UASC data includes those treated as an unaccompanied minor for at least one day between the date of application and the date of initial decision. Some UASC applicants may subsequently be found to be an adult following conclusion of an age dispute. Data on age disputes are published in Age disputes Asy_D05.

Eurostat asylum statistics can be used to compare asylum statistics with EU member states. The methodology used to compile Eurostat data differs from that used in this release. Further details can be found in the user guide.

The UK Community Sponsorship scheme was launched on 19 July 2016. The scheme allows community groups to support refugee families directly and aims to help them become self-sufficient and integrated members of the community. These figures are a subset of those published under the VPRS and VCRS and are not in addition to those resettled under these schemes. Further details can be found on the GOV.UK page.

Family reunion visas are a subset of the ‘Family – other’ visa category, published in the visa tables. The vast majority of ‘Family – other’ visas related to family reunion visas. Data on Family reunion visas come from a different administrative system to other visa data so are not directly comparable. Further details can be found in the user guide.

6.2 Support provided to asylum seekers

Section 95 support is provided to destitute asylum seekers until their claim is finally determined, which may encompass either accommodation or subsistence, or both. ‘Invalid applications for support and support type not yet known’ are cases that have been deemed invalid or which have not yet been assessed.

Section 4 provides support for individuals whose claim has been refused and who have exhausted their appeal rights, but who are destitute and are temporarily unable to leave the UK.

Section 98 support provides accommodation for asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and who are either awaiting a decision on an application for Section 95 support or are supported under Section 95 and are awaiting transfer to their accommodation.

The data show the number of people in receipt of support on a given day, but do not show the length of time for which someone receives support or the amount of support they receive.

6.3 Dublin

Dublin data are published on an annual basis in February.

The Dublin Regulation is EU legislation that establishes the criteria and mechanisms for determining which single state is responsible for examining an application for international protection. 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.

The data show the number of requests from EU member states to transfer an individual into the UK, and the number of individuals transferred into the UK under the Dublin Regulation. They also show the number of requests from the UK to EU member states to transfer an individual out of the UK, and the number of individuals transferred out of the UK.

Data on arrivals relate to the period in which the individual arrived in the UK, removals relate to the period in which the individual was removed from the UK, and requests for transfer in/out relate to the period in which the request was made.

Data on transfers out of the UK under the Dublin Regulation are a subset of the published returns data found in ‘How many people are detained or returned?’.

6.4 Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016

Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, also known as the ‘Dubs’ amendment, committed the UK to bring 480 unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) to the UK from Europe.

Further details about the scheme can be found in the ‘Dubs Factsheet’ on GOV.UK.

Data on those who have transferred to the UK under the ‘Dubs’ scheme was published in Immigration Statistics, year ending June 2020.

Sources and Update information

Asylum seeker data is taken from the Immigration statistics, year ending September 2020 provided by the Home Office.
Population data is taken from the 2019 Mid-Year Population Estimates 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 November 2020. The next update is expected in February 2021.