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Destination UK: countries of origin
Afghanistan Iraq Somalia Sri Lanka Turkey Iran FRY Pakistan China Zimbabwe
Click on the map below to find out more about the top 10 countries of origin for UK asylum seekers.
2. Iraq
6. Iran
7. FRY
UK asylum seekers: Top 10 countries of origin in 2000
Intro: Destination UK
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Provisional figures suggest that UK asylum applications dropped by 11% in 2001 when compared with the previous year.

In total 71,700 asylum applications were lodged in 2001. This made the UK the 10th most popular destination for asylum seekers in Europe when measured by the ratio of asylum seekers to the size of the host population.

Under agreements undertaken with the UN the UK is obliged to offer a safe haven to refugees.

What is a refugee?

They are defined by the UN as someone who, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.

Many asylum seekers do not choose their country of asylum: where they end up can depend on how quickly they flee and by what means. But of those that do choose the UNHCR says that asylum seekers are most likely to be swayed by the presence of more of their own community in a foreign state, rather than by any possible state benefits or reception standards.

In the UK 46,200 asylum seekers applied for asylum "in-country" during a visit or while studying. The other 25,500 are "port applicants" who apply on immediate arrival.

Fleeing persecution or seeking work?

Some asylum seekers use illegitimate means to enter, paying to be smuggled into the country. But they may have little choice. If fleeing a civil war or human rights abuses, an asylum seeker is unlikely to be issued with paperwork necessary for a visa.

However, not all asylum seekers are fleeing persecution. A number are economic migrants who come to the UK in the hope of finding work to support themselves and their families. They may use the asylum system because they cannot enter the UK by another method.

The overall rates for the number of asylum seekers who are granted leave to remain in the UK each year are unclear. But initial estimates for 2001 suggest that just over 30% of asylum seekers were allowed to stay.

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