Today new statistics have been published showing a significant increase in the number of people seeking refuge in the UK having to wait longer than six months for a decision on their asylum application.
The figures show that at the end of March 2017, there were 8,879 asylum applications that hadn’t received an initial decision within six months — a 72% increase on twelve months before.
The Home Office has previously said that it aims to decide straightforward asylum applications within six months.
The statistics, which have been released by the Home Office, also show that there has been a drop in the number of asylum applications made in Britain, while just over 7,300 Syrian refugees have now been resettled to the UK.
Responding to the statistics, Refugee Council Director of Advocacy Dr. Lisa Doyle said:
“It’s deeply concerning that more people seeking refuge in the UK are having to wait for prolonged periods of time before getting a decision. Behind the statistics, these delays leave men, women and children who have sought safety living in limbo and fear.
“While people are waiting for a decision on their application they are made to live in poverty, banned from working, and are simply unable to begin the process of rebuilding their lives.
“The next Government needs to take urgent steps to ensure that the Home Office not only makes decisions in a timely manner, but that they are also right first time. People who come to the UK fleeing war and persecution must have access to a fair and effective asylum process.”
Want to know what you can do to raise issues concerning refugees and asylum seekers during the General Election campaign? We set out some ideas here.