Press Story

  • Cases awaiting initial asylum decision have risen to more than 130,000

  • Afghans were the largest nationality arriving by small boat in the final quarter of 2022

  • Only 887 refugees resettled through UK Resettlement Scheme in 2022

IPPR’s analysis of today’s quarterly Home Office migration statistics highlights the following trends:

  • The number of asylum applications pending decision has continued to increase. The number of cases awaiting an initial decision at the end of 2022 stood at more than 130,000, corresponding to more than 160,000 people waiting for their claim. The figure is more than three times the number of pending cases at the end of 2019.

  • In the final quarter of 2022, Afghans made up 30 per cent of small boat arrivals, the largest of all nationalities. The next largest nationality groups were Iranians (16 per cent), Iraqis (10 per cent) and Albanians (9 per cent).

  • Resettlement numbers outside the bespoke Afghan and Ukraine routes remain low. Only 887 people were resettled under the flagship UK Resettlement Scheme in 2022. While much larger numbers (4,629) were resettled through the Afghan schemes, they have faced criticism due to low numbers outside the initial pathway for those arriving under the UK evacuation programme.

Commenting on the figures, Marley Morris, IPPR associate director for migration, trade and communities, said:

“The asylum backlog paints a dire picture of the inadequacies of our asylum system. A combination of factors are behind the problem – likely including low morale and high turnover among Home Office decision-makers, as well as new ‘inadmissibility’ procedures which have only served to slow down the processing of claims.

“This has led to people being stuck in the system for years, in poor-quality accommodation, unable to work and fully integrate into society, and unable to restart their lives after fleeing conflict, instability and persecution. The backlog also has substantial financial costs for the government, which currently spends millions of pounds each day to house asylum seekers in hotels and military sites.

“We welcome the government’s announcement to fast-track asylum cases from nationalities with very high grant rates. But unless these fast-tracking proposals have fair processes, the plans could backfire and create further confusion and delays. Where questionnaires are used in place of interviews for some nationalities, these should be translated into multiple languages and adequate time and legal advice should be available for them to be completed.”


Available for interview: 

  • Marley Morris, associate director for migration, trade and communities at IPPR

  • Amreen Qureshi, research fellow at IPPR


Liam Evans, Senior Digital and Media Officer: 07419 365334

David Wastell, Director of News and Communications: 07921 403651


  1. IPPR’s research into the rise in Channel crossings can be found here:

  1. IPPR’s research onto warming public attitudes to immigration can be found here:

  1. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.