The UK’s asylum statistics for 2020 were released recently, and contrary to what you might think from media coverage last year, asylum applications fell by 18%, probably due to restricted travel routes as a result of the pandemic. Covid-19 also led to increased backlogs in the system and far fewer people arriving under family reunion or refugee resettlement routes. The key figures include:

  • 29,456 people applied for asylum in the UK in 2020 (excluding dependents), down 18% on 2019
  • 41% of applications were granted asylum or protection at the initial decision stage, with a further 39% of appeals successful
  • 64,895 people were waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claim, a record high
  • 46,796 (72%) of these people were waiting for more than 6 months for a decision, up from 29,233 the previous year
  • The number of people arriving in the UK to join their refugee family members fell by 27%
  • Only 823 refugees were resettled to the UK in 2020, down from 5,612 the previous year

You can read the full statistics here, and the Refugee Council’s response here.