Refugee Council offers alternative to flawed asylum policies from the major political parties - Refugee Council
May 25, 2001

Refugee Council offers alternative to flawed asylum policies from the major political parties

Refugee Council release

As the April monthly asylum figures are released, the Refugee Council says both the Labour and Conservative parties policies on asylum are “deeply flawed and not credible” and calls on all parties “to conduct a more grown-up debate”.

Nick Hardwick, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council added:
“Mass detentions and the humiliating voucher scheme are distractions from the real issues. They are wrong in principle, unworkable in practice or both. The real solution would be to focus efforts on achieving a good quality and effective decision making process. Those who are found to be in need of protection or with compelling humanitarian issues should be allowed to stay and those beyond these categories returned to their country of origin.

“This is the alternative to what is currently on offer from Labour and the Conservatives who are trying to out-do each other in devising ever more draconian and costly measures against this vulnerable group of people, instead of concentrating their efforts and resources on sorting out the decision-making system.”

The current trend shows that the number of asylum seekers arriving in Britain remains fairly stable, with slight monthly variations. Britain continues to receive most applicants from the world’s trouble spots such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Sri Lanka.

The high number of applicants rejected without their cases being considered by the Home Office, on what they term ‘non-compliance grounds’ remains unacceptably high. The most recent available figures show that in April, 15% of cases were rejected in this way, and over the last 12 months rejections on these grounds accounted for 27% of all cases.

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

1. Since 1999, there has been a steady increase in ‘non-compliance’ decisions, technical jargon for rejections without consideration because for example: * a meeting has been missed (most interviews are fixed hundreds of miles away) * the complicated 19-page form is incorrectly or not fully completed (in English) * the two week deadline to return the form is missed (or the Home Office have lost it)

2. Out of 7,478 asylum applicants substantively interviewed in Liverpool and Leeds during an eight week period (18 December – 9 February 2001) 86% (6,427) were from London and the Home Counties.

3. Many refusals are overturned at appeal. In 2000, appeal adjudicators upheld 18 per cent of appeals before them (32 per cent in 1999). Although 46,190 asylum seekers challenged refusal decisions last year, asylum adjudicators (the first tier of the appeal system) only made 18,920 decisions. The remaining cases have been withdrawn, are awaiting a hearing, have yet to be passed on to the appeal authorities by the Home Office or have been reconsidered by the Home Office. Some decisions are also overturned at the next tier of the appeal system – at tribunal.

4. No one knows the number of cases reconsidered by the Home Office after an initial negative decision but before an appeal. For the year 2000, the Home Office itself estimates there were around 5,000 such cases.

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