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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Factsheet: Cost of the asylum system

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Fact sheet, Leading stories

The asylum system is under enormous and unsustainable pressure due to the challenges of the pandemic and significant increase in small boat crossings.

  • Home Office statistics released in February 2022 showed that 28,526 migrants crossed the Channel in 2021- up from 299 in 2018. Almost all claim asylum.
  • The United Kingdom has legal obligations under ECHR and the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act to provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, with accommodation and other support whilst their claim for asylum is being considered.
  • The current asylum system is costing the taxpayer £1.5 billion a year, the highest amount in over two decades.
  • And the severe pressure on the system means claims from those in genuine need of protection are taking too long to process and is taking away from resources to support people through safe and legal routes to the UK.
  • Before the pandemic and the rise in small boat crossings, destitute asylum seekers would be provided with accommodation sourced from the rental housing sector.
  • The sharp increase in crossings and the pandemic has led to approximately 37,000 destitute migrants and those on resettlement schemes being accommodated in hotels, costing the taxpayer £4.7 million every day.
  • The pandemic significantly impacted the government’s ability to remove people with no right to be in the UK.
  • As we work to reform the broken and outdated system, we must ensure we have sufficient capacity to meet our statutory duty to provide accommodation to those in need of our support.
  • It is only controlled immigration through safe and legal routes that allows us to make generous offers of sanctuary, while managing pressures on public services, with the proper support people need to rebuild their lives, integrate and thrive.
  • The New Plan for Immigration will reform the asylum system, enabling the government to support those in genuine need while preventing abuse of the system and deterring illegal entry to the UK.

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