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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: The UK granted asylum or some other form of protection to 9,936 people last year, a 52 percent drop compared to 2019 and the lowest figure since 2014, according to data from the Home Office.
That figure means that roughly a third of the 29,456 applications submitted in 2020 were successful.
The Home Office said the fall in 2020 resettlements was due to fewer decisions being made on asylum applications — 14,365 in 2020 compared to 20,766 in 2019 — and a result of the pause on resettlement activity since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The vast majority of those who were resettled had their applications processed in the first quarter of the year, when resettlement activity was not paused.
The Home Office resumed resettlement activity in December 2020, granting eight refugees asylum.
Figures showed that the most asylum applications for both 2019 and 2020 came from people fleeing Iran.
Roughly 4,500 Iranians applied for asylum in 2019, around 600 people more than in 2020, and 54 percent of those applications were accepted.
Other countries with high numbers of asylum applications included Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
While applications from most countries dropped in 2020 compared to 2019, those from Syria increased by around 500 — up roughly 50 percent.
With an acceptance rate of 74 percent, Syrians were the most likely nationality to be granted asylum.
According to charity Right To Remain, most asylum applications take more than six months to reach any decision, and those that are unsuccessful are at risk of being indefinitely detained or deported to their home country.
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