Asylum claims from main applicants jumped by 29% in the UK last year, with 32,414 – which is also the highest number since 2004.
It was also revealed earlier this week that the number of lone children applying for international protection passed 1,000 in a quarter for the first time in seven years.
Last month, the borders watchdog suggested that the asylum system could struggle to cope if recent surges in claims continue.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The United Kingdom has a long and proud history of offering sanctuary to those who genuinely need our protection.
“All claims for asylum are considered on their individual merits, and where people establish a genuine need for protection from persecution, refuge will be granted.
“However, if people do not need our protection they are expected to leave the UK and we may remove them if they do not go voluntarily.”