UK asylum claims pass a record 5,000 in a month

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The number of migrants seeking asylum in the UK has passed 5,000 in a month for the first time in at least six years, figures reveal.

Britain received claims from 5,095 main applicants and dependants in October, according to statistics published by the EU's data agency.

Press Association analysis shows it is the highest total for any month since current records began in January 2009 and nearly double the number recorded at the start of last year.

It suggests that migrants and their families applied to stay in this country as refugees at a rate of 164 every day. 

There was a dramatic jump in claims last year as the international migration crisis escalated.

The number of people applying for asylum in Britain in October was 84% higher than the 2,770 registered nine months earlier in January. It was also a rise of a quarter compared with the previous month.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, said: "These statistics are another nail in the Government's commitment to reduce migration to the tens of thousands.

"It is important that we know where these applications are coming from, and that the Government develops a coherent, defensible and transparent policy in processing asylum requests."

The Government does not publish monthly asylum data, instead using quarterly figures. 

These have also revealed a sharp rise in claims, with the number of people applying for asylum reaching its highest level for 12 years between July and September.

The Home Office said the Eurostat figures include dependants of the main applicant and reapplications, where a claim may have been withdrawn and then resubmitted, plus others that have been withdrawn entirely.

A spokesman for the department said: "The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of offering sanctuary to those who genuinely need our protection.

"All claims for asylum are considered on their individual merits, and where people establish a genuine need for protection from persecution, refuge will be granted.

"However, if people do not need our protection they are expected to leave the UK and we may remove them if they do not go voluntarily."

The statistics indicate that 530 - around one in 10 - of the applications received in the UK in October were from Syrians - a rise of 63% on the previous month. Some 615 claims were made by Eritreans.

Claims covering 152,100 individuals were made across the EU in October. Of the 24 member states for which figures are available, Britain received the eighth highest number of applicants.

More were registered in Germany, with 54,870 claims, Sweden (39,055), Italy (10,440), Netherlands (10,160), France (8,060), Finland (7,005) and Belgium (6,020).

The figures indicate that the number applying in the UK was nearly five times higher than in Greece - a major entry point for refugees attempting to reach Europe.

Last month a watchdog revealed thousands of asylum seekers have dropped off authorities' radar and efforts to trace them are seen as a "drain on resources".

This week a committee of MPs called on the Government to accept proposals to take 3,000 unaccompanied children from within the EU on top of the 20,000 Syrian refugees set to be brought to the UK over five years under an expanded resettlement scheme.