UK: Asylum backlog exposes Priti Patel's disastrous leadership

© Amnesty International

New Home Office immigration stats reveals backlog of asylum cases quadrupled under Priti Patel’s leadership

No firm update on Afghan refugees casts continued doubt over commitment to support those fleeing persecution from the Taliban

Rwanda refugee scheme, failure to work with French counterparts to devise safe asylum routes and backlog of claims among many issues of concern   

New Home Office statistics published today show a staggering increase of asylum claims waiting more than six months to be decided. The number of outstanding claims now stands at 85,917. The increase over Priti Patel's term of office represents a four-fold increase, says Amnesty International.

In the quarterly update to the Home Office’s immigration figures - which provide information on the UK’s immigration system, including people coming to the UK, those applying for asylum, and those who are detained or removed - there is no firm update on Afghan refugees, casting continued doubt over commitment to support those fleeing persecution from the Taliban.

Other key findings for the year ending June 2022 include:

The UK offered protection, in the form of asylum, humanitarian protection, alternative forms of leave and resettlement, to 15,684 people (including dependants). Of these:

  • 12,968 were granted refugee status following an asylum application
  • 859 were granted humanitarian protection
  • 235 were granted alternative forms of leave (such as discretionary leave, UASC leave)
  • 1,622 were granted refugee status through resettlement schemes

The number of asylum decisions being made is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Of decisions made, more than three quarters (76%) were to grant asylum (or in a small proportion of cases, grant permission to stay for some other reason).

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said:

“The statistics released today​ once again expose Priti Patel’s leadership to be a disaster - her political posturing and cruel policies against people seeking asylum has simply broken the asylum system.

“The staggering increase of asylum claims still to be decided after more than six months has been created by the Home Secretary's reckless refusal to process thousands of claims and failure to efficiently decide thousands more.

“The cost of this is astounding by any measure - the suffering of refugees abandoned in unsuitable accommodation, the unsafe journeys and profits of criminal gangs, or the cost to the taxpayer of sustaining rather than addressing all this.

“The Government urgently needs to focus on making the UK asylum system more accessible​ and efficient - reducing not adding to delays, ensuring the quality of decision-making ​and providing safe alternatives to unsafe Channel crossings - so people receive the protection to which they are entitled​ as quickly as possible.”


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