The number of asylum applications in the UK has increased by a fifth in the space of a year, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The new data shows that there were 29,024 applications of asylum in the year up to September 2015, a 19 per cent increase from 24,324 in the same period last year.
The largest number of asylum seekers came from Eritrea, with 3,726 applications. Second was Sudan with 2,842, followed by Iran with 2,407 and Syria with 2,402.
There is also a huge difference in nationalities who are accepted, with 84 per cent of Sudanese asylum seekers being accepted, but only 21 per cent of Pakistanis.
Europe is currently in the midst of its most severe migrant crisis since the end of the Second World War as hundreds of thousands pour across Mediterranean Sea before working their way up through Greece, Macedonia and Serbia, and then into Croatia, Slovenia and Austria.
Many migrants have spent months camped outside the French town of Calais in an attempt to smuggle themselves on board trucks and trains to Britain. Some have succeeded by paying people smugglers to ferry them across the English Channel, with some even making multiple attempts.
Last week, armed police stormed and dismantled one of the most notorious camps near the town of Téteghem, which had become a favourite site for people smugglers.
Around 200 police officers cleared all the residents and arrested two people smugglers after mayor Franck Dhérsin branded the site a “rebel camp that we can tolerate no longer.”
The new figures come as the Guardian accuses Britain’s asylum system of traumatising gay asylum seekers by making them “relive” the reasons why the fled their home countries.
In an apparent call for the government to accept anyone who claims to be homosexual, Debora Singer of Asylum Aid laments how gay asylum seekers are being subject to “too rigorous a standard of proof”.
She says that officials should automatically believe claimants so they are “more likely to remember everything relevant to their case, and the evidence they provide will be more complete.”
She did not mention how this would affect people who make fraudulent claims.