Refugee Action published a report last week, detailing its findings that “for too many, the asylum system that they are confronted with in the UK is a hostile one, characterised by long delays, poor decisions, and a total lack of information”.
The report is based on interviews with 40 asylum seekers and recent data from the Home Office. The charity reports that many asylum seekers have been waiting for over six months, with some even waiting for years to receive a decision on their claim. According to the report, many of the problems with asylum claims are the result of issues during asylum interviews – a process that many asylum seekers find distressing. Poor interpreting was a common feature of such interviews and in the worst cases, poor interview practice was the key factor leading to an incorrect decision.
According to The Guardian, by the end of 2017 over 14,000 people had been waiting for a decision on their asylum claim for more than six months, which is the current ‘service standard’ for asylum claims. This is a 25% increase from 2016, despite the total number of applications for asylum falling in 2017. In addition, 35% of asylum appeals resulted in Home Office refusals being overturned and for certain nationalities, more than half of all appeals were upheld. This report comes in the wake of the Windrush scandal, highlighting yet more failings at the Home Office.
In response to the report, a Home Office spokesperson has said: "the UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection. […] We are committed to transforming the asylum system. We are modernising our processes and have established a new team to focus on more complex cases to make sure that they are decided faster.”
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