Crackdowns don't make a policy: Refugee Council response to Public Accounts Committee reported comments - Refugee Council
March 14, 2006

Crackdowns don’t make a policy: Refugee Council response to Public Accounts Committee reported comments

In a report today (14th March 06), the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) attacks the government on its asylum policy. The Committee claim more asylum seekers should be locked up or tagged to clear the backlog of cases, and that somewhere between 155,000 and 283,000 had “disappeared.”

The Refugee Council has responded to the reported comments on the Public Accounts Committee’s report on the government’s asylum policy:

Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of The Refugee Council, said she was surprised to hear the Public Accounts Committee calling for another crackdown.

“If crackdowns worked, the government would have done this years ago. Crackdowns make for good headlines, they are not a policy.

“A policy should be effective, well-balanced and humane – that’s what we are seeking. Seeking asylum is not illegal, so locking people up left, right and centre is totally inappropriate, and statistically unproven to be effective.

“The real expense in the asylum system is the cost of poor decisions, both in human terms and in the cost to the treasury. The government needs to focus efforts on the quality of initial decisions – which will decrease the number of people waiting for appeals.

“Detention of people whose application have failed is the most expensive option, partly because of the cost per person, and also because it just isn’t necessary. There is no evidence that people abscond in managed casework situations, as the Government now proposes with its New Asylum Model. But the people who go missing are the people to whom the government have given no support, who are on the street and destitute – they disappear because they have no reason to stay in touch.

“We call for a fresh look from the government at the best solution for the people – from places like Somalia, Zimbabwe and Iraq – who can’t go home. Thousands of people would be only too happy to contribute to the UK economy if they were given some recognition and allowed to work while they are here.”


For further information and interviews contact press office: Chris Pitt 0207 346 1213 (Switchboard: 0207 346 6700). For urgent or out of hours inquiries ring 0870 0555500 & ask for pager 865169.

Further information:
Public Accounts Committee Report: Returning Failed Asylum Applicants