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Political Asylum

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement as to which factors account for the increase in applications for political asylum in 1989.

Provisional figures suggest that the number of asylum applications increased from 5,105 in 1988 to 12,570 in 1989. The arrival of some 3,700 Turkish asylum seekers in the second quarter was an important factor but there were also significant increases in the number of applications from Somalia, Sri Lanka and Uganda. The overall increase is in line with trends elsewhere in Europe. Individual decisions to seek asylum are rooted in personal circumstances and conditions in countries of origin. In some cases would-be migrants claim asylum in an attempt to circumvent firm controls on other categories of immigration.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have sought political asylum so far this year.

A provisional breakdown by nationality of applications made in each quarter is supplied to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Copies are placed in the Library. The provisional total for the first quarter of 1990 is 2,031 applications.