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Britain sees highest asylum claims in more than a decade

  • Published at 12:01 am August 26th, 2016

More than 36,000 asylum seeker claims were made in Britain in the first half of 2016, according to government figures published on Thursday, the highest number in over a decade.

Between January and June this year, 36,465 people applied for asylum in Britain, a 41 percent increase on the same period in 2015, which had nearly 26,000 claims.

The number of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Britain rose to 3,472, a 54 percent increase since 2015, representing 10 percent of all asylum claims so far this year.

The last time Britain had such a high number of applications was in 2004, when 39,746 people sought asylum.

Over a million people fleeing wars and conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Asia reached the European Union (EU) last year in the continent’s biggest migration crisis since World War Two.

The largest number of asylum claims in Britain came from people who have left Iran (4,910), Iraq (3,199), Pakistan (2,992), Eritrea (2,790), Afghanistan (2,690) and Syria (2,563).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said nearly 3,500 refugees were resettled in the first half of the year.

Across the EU, Germany received 665,000 asylum seeker claims over the past 12 months since June 2015, by far the greatest number, followed by Sweden (149,000) and Hungary (131,000).

Britain had the eighth highest amount of asylum applications in the EU, according to ONS data.