Asylum claims leap to 164 a day in October


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

A total of 5,095 main applicants and dependants lodged claims in Britain in October, according to statistics published by the EU's data agency.

Press Association analysis shows it is the highest figure for any month since current records began in January 2009. It is also the first time since that date that the level has exceeded 5,000.

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

There was a sharp jump compared with the previous month, with the tally rising by a quarter compared with the 4,055 applications registered in September.

The data reveals a dramatic jump in asylum applications last year amid the international migration crisis.

The number logged in Britain in October - the most recent month for which UK data is available - had almost doubled compared with January, when there were 2,770.

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

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

The Eurostat data indicates that 530 - around one in 10 - of the applications received in the UK in October were from Syrians - a rise of 63% compared to the previous month. Some 615 claims were made by Eritrean citizens.

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".

Caseworkers told inspectors there were approximately 10,000 cases where the claimant and dependants including children were not in contact with the Home Office or had absconded.

Earlier this week a committee of MPs called on the Government to accept proposals to take 3,000 unaccompanied children from within the EU.

This would be in addition to the 20,000 Syrian refugees set to be brought to the UK from camps in the region around the war-ravaged country over five years.

The Eurostat figures cover people who submitted an application for international protection or who were included as a family member.

They show claims covering 152,100 individuals were made in the EU in October, although figures for the month are not yet available for some countries.

Of the 24 member states included, Britain received the eighth highest number of applicants.

More were registered in Germany, where 54,870 people lodged asylum claims in the month, as well as 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, which is a major entry point for refugees attempting to reach Europe.