Asylum backlog hits new high - Refugee Council
July 27, 2016

Asylum backlog hits new high

The number of people awaiting a decision on their asylum claim has reached a new high.

According to the latest statistics, 34,201 people’s applications were ‘pending a decision’ at the end of March this year.

In its new report, published today, the Home Affairs Select Committee has condemned the Government’s failure to heed the Committee’s own warnings of the growing problem and is urging the Home Office to act.

Even more shockingly, 19,506 people’s cases are stuck in the Government’s so called ‘legacy’ programme. The majority of these people have been waiting for a resolution since before 2007. MPs calculate that at the current rate, it will take the Home Office decades to clear the backlog of these cases.

Refugee Council Head of Advocacy Lisa Doyle said: “It’s extremely concerning that so many people are still waiting for a decision on their asylum claim, years after first applying. Behind these statistics are individuals, many of whom will have suffered extreme trauma, forced to live day to day in uncertainty while they await the outcome of what could be a life or death decision.

“While people are in the asylum system they are living in limbo; they are banned from working, living in poverty and are simply unable to begin recovering from their experiences and rebuilding their lives.

“It’s very important that the Home Office makes decisions in a timely manner, but it’s even more important that it gets its decisions right first time. It’s vital that people who come here fleeing persecution have access to a fair and effective asylum process.”

Elsewhere, the Committee also criticised the Government’s handling of Eritrean asylum claims and failure to allow lone child refugees to reunite with their parents.