The Home Office has confirmed that the number of LGBT+ asylum seekers is on the rise in the UK, with an increase of more than 400 per cent in a five year period.
The most recent figures are from 2014, with 1,115 people citing their sexuality as their reason for seeking asylum.
Between 2007-2014, the majority of claimants seeking asylum due to their sexuality were from Pakistan, followed by Nigeria, Jamaica and Ghana.
LGBT+ people are among the most persecuted in the world. There are currently nearly 80 countries that have some form of anti-LGBT+ laws in existence, and seven of them apply the death penalty.
According to Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, “One of the reasons that people are claiming persecution has been due to a series of African governments introducing the death penalty for homosexuality”.
The Home Office has previously been criticised for the way it processes LGBT+ asylum claims, as well as the treatment of LGBT+ refugees in detention.
A 2014 review by Chief Inspector John Vine found that the system used to process gay asylum seekers was unlawful and that a fifth of interviews contained stereotyping.
It’s believed that that the recommendations made by the review have affected the increase in LGBT+ asylum seeker applications. The measures accepted by the Home Office included improving the training and mentoring of decision makers and having a “second pair of eyes” on all asylum cases based on sexual orientation.