Press Story

Today’s statistics from the Home Office on the asylum backlog and small boats reveal that:

  • Nearly one thousand (909) Afghans were detected crossing the Channel in small boats in the first quarter of the year.

  • The number of Albanians crossing the Channel has fallen to only 29, an 88% reduction compared to the first quarter of 2022.

  • Despite the number of asylum decision makers more than doubling in the past two years, the asylum backlog is still more than 138,000. The ‘legacy’ backlog has, however fallen from around 100,000 at the end of June 2022 to around 80,000 at the end of March 2023.

Responding to the statistics, Marley Morris, IPPR associate director for migration, trade and communities, said:

“Today’s migration statistics expose the muddled thinking at the heart of the government’s new migration bill.

“Afghans left stranded after the disastrously executed withdrawal in 2021 will almost always have a well-founded protection claim, but under the government’s migration bill any arriving by small boat on or after 7 March will be refused asylum and the Home Secretary will have a duty to remove them.

“And without countries to send people to, thousands will be trapped in limbo in the UK – unable to be removed and unable to claim asylum.

“While the government claims there are safe routes for Afghans, these have been plagued by delays and difficulties. Only 22 people were resettled under one of the key Afghan pathways in 2022.

“While the statistics show some progress is being made on reducing the ‘legacy’ backlog of old cases, the migration bill will simply create a new backlog of people trapped outside the asylum system and with no right to work or access mainstream benefits.”