State of the Nation: the UK asylum system

The latest data on the asylum and modern slavery systems in the UK. 

The British Red Cross’ State of the Nation report on the UK asylum system brings together the latest data on the asylum and modern slavery systems.

It covers who is claiming asylum in the UK, how they are arriving, how they are being supported while they wait for a decision and who is being granted protection. It also presents data on survivors of modern slavery in the UK. 

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Arrow icon Facts at a glance

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The latest facts and figures about refugees in the UK

To help separate fact from fiction, it makes up-to-date facts and figures on the asylum system more accessible to everyone including journalists, researchers, the refugee, asylum and anti-trafficking sectors, and the public. 

By visualising data in a way that is easier to understand, the report will be a useful tool in supporting evidence-based policy change and properly informed debates by addressing misinformation so that the UK asylum and modern slavery systems can provide protection to those who need it. 

The British Red Cross is the largest independent provider of support to people seeking asylum, refugees and survivors of trafficking in the UK. We provide emergency help, one-to-one support and casework, and special services for children and families all across the country. You can see data in the report on the support we have provided in the last 12 months.

We'll update the report quarterly with the latest data.

Facts at a glance

  • People seeking asylum made up less than 7 per cent of the 1.16 million people migrating to the UK in 2022.
  • In the year reported until the end of September 2023, 93,296 people applied for asylum in the UK. In the same period, 766 people were resettled here safely. 
  • 6,114 family reunions were granted over the last year. 
  • The asylum backlog is 165,411, a 372 per cent increase in the last five years.
  • In 2014, nearly 9 in 10 people who applied for asylum received a decision within six months. At the end of 2022, just over 1 in 10 did. In September 2023, 75 per cent of the people in the asylum backlog were waiting more than six months for an initial decision. 
  • In the last year, 29 per cent of asylum claims were withdrawn. This is the highest number of withdrawals in a 12 month period. 
  • In the last year, British Red Cross refugee support teams have supported 6,799 main clients experiencing destitution. Including dependents, we have supported 11,488 people. 

Sources: UNHCR Global Trends 2022, Home Office, ONS. All stats are for the year ending September 2023 unless stated otherwise.

About this report

Hosted on Flourish, this report includes a series of interactive charts on various parts of the UK asylum system, pulling together publicly available data in one place and presenting it in an accessible way. 

If you would like to know more about this or see the underlying data, please contact

For media enquiries, please contact and 020 7877 7557.