Asylum Seekers

Information on Asylum Seekers in Wales and the UK

An asylum seeker is someone who is waiting for their application to be recognised as a refugee to be considered by the Government.


Asylum Seekers are dispersed to four agreed 'dispersal' areas in Wales by the Home Office. The agreed dispersal areas in Wales are Newport, Wrexham, Cardiff and Swansea.

UK-Wide Asylum Figures:

  • The numbers of asylum applications have been relatively stable since 2005, having fallen substantially from a peak in 2002. These falls coincide with: the introduction in 2002 of a process preventing certain nationalities from appealing a decision while in the country; the opening of juxtaposed controls in France and Belgium in 2002 and 2004; and the introduction of fast-track facilities in 2003.
  •  In particular, all quarters since the fourth quarter of 2009 have seen fewer than 5,000 asylum applications.
  • The third quarter of 2011 had the highest quarterly number of asylum applications in this period, mainly due to an increase of applications from nationals of Pakistan, Iran and Syria.

In the third quarter of 2011 there were 4,912 asylum applications and 4,276 initial decisions compared to 4,486 asylum applications (up 9%) and 4,945 initial decisions (down 14%) in the third quarter of 2010.

Wales Asylum Figures:

Wales accommodates approximately 1500 dispersed asylum seekers (as at May 2012). Of these 825 are dependants of the main applicant.

The top 5 nationalities of asylum seekers in Wales are: Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, People's Republic of China and Nigeria. 

  • The most common age group of asylum seekers is 30-34 years (including single people and heads of families).
  • Of the 684 males overall in Wales, 36% are single and 18% are in families. Of the 634 Females overall, 9% are single and 37% are in families.

Published on: 10 March 2010