Immigration and asylum statistics released

immigration, asylum, ons, office for national statistics, migration, european union 27 November 2009

Immigration statistics for July to September 2009 have been released by the Home Office today. This range of statistics covers asylum applications, total removals for those illegally in the United Kingdom and migration from eastern Europe.

Figures show that applications for asylum have dropped to 5,055 for the third quarter of 2009 - a 24 per cent reduction compared to the same period in 2008.

Decisions on asylum cases have risen by 38 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2008, with the grant rate for asylum falling to 12 per cent. In December 2008 the UK Border Agency met its target of concluding 60 per cent of new asylum cases within six months.

Applications from eastern Europeans to work in the United Kingdom under the worker registration scheme have stabilised at 29,085, compared to 41,265 during the same period last year and 28,060 in the second quarter (April to June) of 2009.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures published earlier today also show that net migration fell to 163,000 in 2008, from 233,000 in 2007, the lowest level since the eight accession countries joined the European Union in 2004.

The ONS figures also show that, 14 per cent of those coming to the United Kingdom in 2008 - 85,000 people - were British citizens returning to live in Britain. This was more than any other individual nationality.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:

"Net migration is falling, showing that migrants come to the UK for short periods of time, work, contribute to the economy and then return home. "

"Our new, flexible points-based system gives us greater control over those coming to work or study from outside Europe, ensuring that only those that Britain need can come. "

"Our border has never been stronger, as illustrated by the fall in asylum applications and the record numbers we are stopping at Calais. "

"We are making the UK a more hostile place for illegal immigrants by issuing foreign nationals with identity cards, checking those who apply for visas against watch-lists and fining those who employ illegal workers."

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