The Government has released statistics on COVID-19 and the immigration system, highlighting some of the key trends into April on passenger arrivals, visas, extensions, asylum, resettlement and detention, as well as the EU Settlement Scheme. Key asylum related developments are:
- Although there had been a general upward trend in the number of asylum applications since mid-2018, the number of applications fell sharply in the UK following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the four weeks prior to lockdown, there were around 2,500 applications, however in the first four weeks of lockdown there were less than 800, a fall of 69%.
- There were around 300 initial decisions made on asylum applications in the first four weeks of lockdown. This was around one sixth of the number in the four weeks prior to lockdown.
- Due to COVID-19 related restrictions on movements both overseas and in the UK, it is not currently possible to undertake any resettlement activity. As a result, there have been no refugees resettled in the UK since 12 March 2020, following the outbreak of COVID-19. All refugee resettlement arrivals to the UK planned prior to the current crisis have now been cancelled. Resettlement arrivals are due to restart as soon as conditions allow.