The number of migrants claiming asylum in Britain due to their sexuality has grown by 450 per cent over the last five years, leading to concerns that not all claims may be genuine.
In 2009, fewer than 200 people claimed asylum on the grounds that their lives would be at risk in their home country because of their lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) status. But by 2014, the last year for which figures are available, that figure had risen to 1,115 people, The Sun has reported.
The majority of claimants during those five years at 748 nationals, were from Pakistan. During the same period 112 Jamaicans, 343 Nigerians, and 88 Ghanaians cited their LGBT status as their reason for claiming asylum.
The law in Pakistan makes the punishment for homosexuality as either 100 lashes or death by stoning, depending on whether the person is married or not. This year, Pakistan will be handed £441 million in British foreign aid.
The Conservative MP David Burrows has suggested that the sharp increase is due to a 2010 Supreme Court ruling which stopped the Home Office from rejecting claims on the grounds that a person’s sexuality could be kept private.
“The challenge for the Home Office and asylum seekers is having to prove your sexuality,” he said.
But concerns have been raised that some migrants could be using their sexuality as a ruse to stay in the UK.
Posters found near the entrance to the Jungle migrant camp in Calais in the summer of 2015, written in English and Arabic, offered advice to migrants seeking to claim asylum in the UK which included the suggestion that applicants “prepare their story well from the beginning” and ensure that the “story fits with them [the UK government]”.
The posters further suggested that migrants chose a “category” which proves their life would be endangered if they returned to their homeland. Among the options listed were “race and religion” and “being gay in some countries”.