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IPPR - New migration stats reveal growing asylum backlog

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

  • The sharp increase in net migration to 504,000 in the year ending June 2022 is driven by the introduction of the new Ukraine humanitarian routes and by rises in study and work visas, especially for health and care. We expect these numbers will fall over time as the Ukraine routes are used less frequently and emigration, particularly of students, increases. 
  • The number of asylum applications pending decision has continued to increase. The number of cases awaiting initial decision stands at 117,400, more than twice as many as two years ago. There are now around 80,000 cases awaiting initial decision for more than six months.  
  • Resettlement numbers under government schemes, outside the bespoke Afghan and Ukraine schemes, remain very low since the pandemic. Around 1,400 people were resettled in the 12 months to September 2022, compared with around 5,600 in 2019. 

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

“The new migration statistics today tell two stories about immigration to the UK. On the one hand, higher net migration is driven in large part by rising student numbers and the new Ukraine humanitarian routes – reflecting the generosity of the British public in opening their homes in exceptional numbers to welcome Ukrainians escaping the Russian invasion. 

“On the other hand, the figures also show an asylum system in serious peril, with the backlog of claims growing further. Urgent action is needed to tackle the backlog and to work with local authorities to find suitable accommodation for asylum applicants. 

“Today also marks one year on from the tragic deaths of 32 people in the Channel. With numbers of small boats crossing the Channel continuing to rise, the government must work closely with France and the EU to stop the dangerous crossings and provide safe and legal alternatives.” 

Long-term international migration, provisional: year ending June 2022

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