Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Resettlement of Syrian refugees: UK bottom of league table


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

The House of Commons Library has issued an interesting briefing on the UK approach to Syrian refugees. Hat tip to ILPA for spotting it. The UK has taken in 4,000 Syrian refugees who managed to reach our shores to make a personal direct claim for asylum despite our best efforts to keep them out and our description of this as an “abuse”. The UK has also taken in a grant total of 187 Syrian refugees through our miserly resettlement programme. In contrast the UK has been very generous in providing “aid” to try and keep refugees in the region.

The comparison with other rich counties is instructive (none of these numbers include direct personal claims for asylum remember):

Australia5,600 resettlement and a Special Humanitarian Programme
Brazilopen-ended humanitarian visa programme (over 7,000 humanitarian visas issued so far)
Canada200 resettlement1,100 private sponsorship

10,000 resettlement/private sponsorship

France1,000 humanitarian admission/resettlementalmost 1,400 asylum visas granted to Syrians to enable them to travel to claim asylum in France
Germany20,000 humanitarian admission10,000 individual sponsorship
Ireland610 resettlement111 refugees accepted under the temporary Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme
Sweden2,700 resettlementnearly 4,700 visas issued under a temporary extended family reunion programme for Syrian refugees
Switzerland   3,500 resettlement and human
United Statesopen-ended resettlement (13,586 cases referred for consideration thus far).

If we merge those numbers for each country and put it into a chart it looks like this:

Resettlement of Syrian refugees league table

In related news, read about the wall proposed in Hungary and the reaction of the refugees it is intended to deter (Migrants on Hungary’s border fence: ‘This wall, we will not accept it’), the death of a man willing to cling to the underside of an aeroplane to reach the UK (If clinging to an aeroplane is someone’s best hope of reaching safety, they’ll take it), this astonishing piece on the fence at the Syrian/Turkish border (Fleeing through the eye of a needle), reflect on the rising death toll in the Mediterranean Sea and consider that we are in the middle of the worst refugee criss the world has ever seen (A Record Year in Misery: the World Has Never Seen a Refugee Crisis This Bad).


We kill thousands with our borders and our indifference but we will not kill the hope that drives them.

Interested in refugee law? You might like Colin's book, imaginatively called "Refugee Law" and published by Bristol University Press.

Communicating important legal concepts in an approachable way, this is an essential guide for students, lawyers and non-specialists alike.

Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.