MAY I reply to Will Richards' letter about asylum seekers with some facts?

Fewer than two per cent of the world's refugees come to the UK. Africa and Asia host far more refugees than Europe, but even in Europe, Britain is only 10th per head of population for asylum applications.

Persecution is difficult to prove. Many asylum seekers have no documents, they receive little legal support and the criteria are increasingly strict.

Thirty-eight per cent of asylum seekers' cases are granted at the initial hearing (Home Office statistics, 2013) and a further 25 per cent are granted upon appeal. In some countries, such as Switzerland and Finland, more than 70 per cent of applications succeed.

Research by the Association of Chief Police Officers has found that there is no evidence that asylum seekers commit more crime. They are more likely to be victims of violent crime, because of their vulnerability.

John Banks, the National Union of Teachers' head of education, says: "All the evidence we have is that in some of the toughest schools it is the asylum seekers' children who provide stability, because they are most dedicated to getting the best out of the system."

These facts are provided by Equaliteach (a not-for profit equality and diversity training and consultancy organisation).

Gwyneth Tweats