The number of migrants claiming asylum in Britain hit a six-year high in July amid the on-going refugee crisis, making the UK the fourth largest recipients of asylum seekers in Europe.
In just one month 4,305 people and their dependants lodged a claim for asylum in the UK, making July the highest monthly figure since early 2009, according to Eurostat, the EU’s data agency.
Alp Mehmet, of Migration Watch UK, told The Times: “These figures show that far from not taking our share of refugees, the UK is doing so at just about record levels.”
The rising numbers means Britain took in the fourth highest number of refugees in Europe in July – behind Germany, with 37,525 applications; Hungary, with 31,285; and Sweden, with 8,060.
— EU_Eurostat (@EU_Eurostat) September 18, 2015
However, Anna Musgrave, of the Refugee Council, said the data suggested Britain was “barely feeling the effects” of the refugee crisis.
The figures coincide with the Calais crisis, where thousands of migrants stormed the channel tunnel on a nightly basis attempting to cross into the UK. The crisis has now abated thanks to expensive new fencing and heightened security.
However, the numbers were recorded before Prime Minister David Cameron promised to bring in 20,000 refugees from Syria. They began to arrive just this week, so the numbers are likely to continue to rise for the foreseeable future.
At the beginning of this week the European Council president Donald Tusk attacked Angela Merkel for “inviting” tens of millions of people into Europe in August, when her government violated EU rules by promising that any Syrian who could make it across the German border could stay.
Germany was quickly overwhelmed and closed its border within days of the promise. This week, Germany – along with France and Italy – forced through a policy of relocating migrants in other member states against their will.
The UK will not be partaking in the plan to resettle 160,000 migrants already in Europe because it is not a member of the Schengen area. However, the British government promised an extra £115 million of aid at the emergency EU meeting where the vote was taken.