Facts and figures - Britain and the refugee crisis

What is the truth about Britain and the refugee crisis?


Syria and the surrounding region

  • The refugee crisis affecting Europe and the Middle East is a global humanitarian catastrophe.
  • Over 4.8m Syrians have been displaced by the conflict in their country, the vast majority to neighbouring countries.
  • There are currently 2.7m Syrian refugees in Turkey, in Lebanon one in three people are now refugees, and Jordan is supporting a further 600,000 refugees.


  • Last year over 1 million people entered Europe, largely from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea. 3,770 men, women and children died attempting the dangerous sea crossing to Greece and Italy.
  • A quarter of refugees who arrived in 2015 were children, many thousands unaccompanied. In Sweden alone, more than 35,000 unaccompanied children applied for asylum.
  • The European Ombudsman for Children has warned that these children are seriously vulnerable to “illness and even death, trafficking, separation from parents, extortion by smugglers and exploitation and abuse.” Europol estimate at least 10,000 children have simply disappeared in Europe in the past two years.
  • In Calais and Dunkirk in Northern France, thousands of people, including families and hundreds of unaccompanied children have been smuggled to make-shift camps and are now living in mud and squalor.

2016 Horizon

  • Last year Germany, Sweden, Greece and Italy took the majority of refugees. Germany alone received almost 500,000 asylum applications in 2015.
  • The same four countries won’t be able to do the same again this year. In January and February of this year, ten times the number of people arrived in Europe than at the start of 2015.
  • The majority of those arriving in Europe are women and children. Reception centres in Greece and Italy are full and thousands of refugees are now stuck on the border with Greece and Macedonia.

UK Response

  • So-far Britain has agreed to take just 4,000 refugees from Syria and neighbouring countries a year. The same number are currently arriving in 2 days to Greece.