By Peter McLaren-Kennedy •
Published: 27 Nov 2021 • 12:18
Press and social media coverage has raised awareness of the growing number of migrants seeking to cross the channel with many including the government speaking of a crisis. But do the numbers actually support this view, is the UK really in a migrant crisis?
The view of an impending crisis has arisen given the substantial increase in the number of migrants attempting to make the journey across the English Channel, rising from 8,500 in 2020 to nearly 25,000. Home Secretary Priti Patel has tried for years to deal with the problem but has not been successful, resulting in a change in direction earlier this week when she announced that was is needed is “wholesale reform of our asylum system.”
Have the numbers of asylum seekers risen?
According to BBC Newsnight’s Ben Chu, the majority of those who do cross the channel seeking political asylum come from war-torn areas such as Syria and Iran and Afghanistan. “So one would expect claims to be soaring, but there’s no sign of that in the data – at least, not yet. In the year leading up to June 2021, there were 31,115 asylum applications, 4% fewer than in the previous year,” according to Chu. “This is less than half the level compared to the earlier 2000s.”
So what’s different?
The pandemic has clearly had an impact on migrants with many of the traditional channels and asylum routes no longer available or severely disrupted. Border controls in place since Brexit are also forcing people to look for alternative routes to their chosen asylum destination, so it’s no surprise that there has been an increase in the number of boats making the crossing.
Let’s keep the numbers in perspective
According to the UNHCR in 2020 there were 26.4 million refugees in the world at the moment and a further 48 million internally displaced (in their own country). The countries that are housing the largest numbers of refugees are typically outside Europe, where the situation is as follows:
Country Refugees Asylum Seekers
Turkey 3.7 million 322,100
Germany 1.2 million 243,100
France 436,000 118,137
Spain 103,600 103,600
UK 132,000 77,200
In terms of absolute number of asylum seekers each country has taken on, other European nations such as Italy, Spain and France were all ahead of the UK. That means that the UK receives fewer asylum seekers per resident than the EU average.
What is the problem then?
The issue of migrants seems to be one based on politics and cultures, with Brexit clearly having brought this to the fore. As Newsnight host Emily Maitlis summarised “Net migration to the UK is actually down with more people are leaving than coming into the country.”
For more on the situation watch the discussion in the House of Lords by clicking here.
Whether that trend continues remains to be seen, but what is clear is that the question really does not need to be ask is the UK really in a Migrant Crisis?
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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Criminal welfare recipients come and professionals leave
a really good deal
The situation in the uk appears to have be blown up out of proportion to the country’s inhabitants, but one point I will say is who bears the financial brunt for all this, certanly not the politicians who talk a good talk all the while feathering their nests !
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