In response to the asylum statistics for the last quarter of 2007 published today, Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“The Home Office announcement today heralds the fall in numbers applying for asylum over the last few years as an achievement. It is such a shame that this government takes such pride in preventing people from coming to the UK to claim asylum. It is frightening to think about what has been happening to those who have tried to flee their tormentors only to be stopped in their tracks by these strong border controls. Good border management is in everyone’s interest, but that must include safe and legal routes into the UK for people fleeing for their lives.
“For those that do get here, many are still wrongly refused: one in four appeals are successful, rising to 54% for Somali nationals and 46% for Eritreans in the last quarter, for example. This is still the case despite the introduction of the New Asylum Model, a process the government claims will be more effective at getting decisions right first time.
“An appeals process is an essential check on decisions, to ensure we don’t wrongly return people to face persecution or torture. But, they are traumatic for those involved and costly – today’s statistics show more work needs to be done to get decisions right first time.
“Overall, these statistics make it very difficult to gain a real picture of how the asylum system is working in Britain. We have no idea, for instance, how long people are being detained for and we can’t compare current Home Office performance with the past systems. This is unacceptable – information of sufficient detail and breadth needs to be published to be able to assess whether the system is working properly. We have raised this with government, and urge ministers to expand, rather than restrict, access to data.”
BIA Stats review: Refugee Council response to “Review of Border and Immigration Agency Statistics on Control of Immigration” [February 2008]