Fourth Data Story: People seeking asylum in Northern Ireland

Almost 500 refugees, a record number, from countries across the world are currently seeking asylum in Northern Ireland.

Today sees the launch of Detail Data’s fourth data story New figures reveal 500 people seeking asylum in Northern Ireland which examines the refugee and asylum seekers situation. This number is expected to rise as Stormont politicians have responded to the international crisis sparked by hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking new lives.

Campaigners have highlighted Stormont’s failure to introduce relevant legislation, including the long-awaited Racial Equality Strategy and a refugee integration strategy, while asylum seekers already based in Belfast have raised concerns over the handling of their cases.

Key findings

  • 212 people were detained at Larne House, Northern Ireland’s only holding centre for immigrants (including asylum seekers), between April and June 2015.
  • 25 children who arrived into Northern Ireland unaccompanied between 2011 and August 2015 have been taken into care. The youngest was 12 years old. Five children were taken into care in the first eight months of this year alone.
  • 137 children of asylum seekers were educated in Northern Ireland schools in 2014/15. All were based in Belfast. That figure is up from 72 in 2012/13.
  • 1,333 people registered with a GP practice here between January 2010 and June 2015 as asylum seekers,147 of them in the first six months of 2015.

Insight from Northern Ireland Community of Refugees and Asylum Seekers (NICRAS) is included in this story. Justin Kouame, NICRAS Chairperson, stated that Northern Ireland is not adequately equipped to deal with asylum seekers who have fled their counties because of conflict, war, sexual abuse, political beliefs, persecution and female genital mutilation. Personal stories were also gathered directly from three of NICRAS service users. To read their stories click here.

The Data

Detail Data has extracted the Northern Ireland figures from Home Office immigration statistics which include quarterly figures on asylum, detention and removals. The statistics made available to Detail Data cover only those asylum seekers who are judged to be ‘destitute’ (they do not have adequate accommodation or money to cover living expenses for their families for 14 days) and whose applications have not been finalised. Detail Data also requested information from the Department of Education, Health and Social Care Business Services Organisation.

Gaps in the Data

It is not possible to calculate the total number of asylum seekers for the year as applications report in each quarter can carry into subsequent quarters and even subsequent years.

To read the full article by the Detail's Lindsay Fergus, click here.

To find the data on the Detail Data Portal, click here.

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