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UK accepts more resettlement scheme refugees than any other EU nation

The UK accepted more refugees under resettlement schemes than any other country in the EU last year, new figures reveal.

A total of 1,864 people arrived in this country through the route in 2015.

Data released on Wednesday by the EU's official statistics agency, Eurostat, showed this was the highest number out of all 28 member states.

It means Britain received more than one in five (22%) of the total 8,155 resettled refugees recorded across the bloc.

The number includes those who have come to the country through the Government's programme to give sanctuary to Syrians brought from the region around the war-torn country.

Sweden had the next highest tally for resettled refugees, with 1,850, followed by Finland with 1,005.

Eurostat defined resettled refugees as those who have been granted authorisation to reside in a member state " within the framework of a national or community resettlement scheme".

In addition to those resettled, nearly 18,000 people received positive decisions on asylum applications in the UK, according to the figures.

This was a rise of more than a quarter (26%) compared to the previous year, and the fifth highest total across the EU.

Germany granted the highest number of people protection status, with more than 148,000 - a rise of 212% - followed by Sweden (34,500, or +4%), Italy (29,600, or +44%) and France (26,000, or +26%).

Overall, countries in the EU gave refuge to a total of 333,350 people in 2015, a rise of 72% compared with the previous year.

Eurostat said that since 2008, a total of nearly 1.1 million asylum seekers have been granted protection status in the EU.

The largest group were Syrians, with 166,100 citizens of the war-torn country - or half of the total - given asylum in Europe.

In the UK, Sudanese people accounted for the highest number of refugees designated with protection status, followed by Iran and then Syria, according to the data.

Allan Hogarth, of Amnesty UK, said: "These stats have to be placed in the grim context in which they belong.

"The world is in the grips of the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War and countries across Europe, including the UK, haven't done anywhere near enough in response to that.

"5 million people have fled Syria and the UK's contribution to resettlement of Syrians is a puny sum when set against that.

"The UK took in some 20,000 refugees from Hungary over one winter in 1956, so surely we can do something similar in the 21st century for which we can be similarly proud."

Overall last year, the UK received 32,414 asylum claims from main applicants last year - a rise of 29% on 2014 and the highest number since 2004.


From Belfast Telegraph