Asylum backlog reaches over 70,000 despite a decline in claims
New data from the Home Office has revealed that over 70,000 people were waiting for a decision on their initial asylum claim in the UK as of June 2021. This means that the asylum backlog is now 9 times higher than it was a decade ago.
The backlog has increased by 73% in just the past two years, despite the fact that the number of asylum applications has been decreasing in this time. In the year ending June 2021 the UK received 37,325 applications for asylum, this number was a 9% decrease on the previous year.
Refugee resettlements practically came to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the new data also shows that the number or resettlements continues to remain low. In the second quarter of 2021 just 308 refugees were resettled in the UK, significantly lower than the quarterly average of 1,400 from 2016 to 2019.
Increasing number of boat arrivals
An increasing number of asylum seekers have been arriving by boat into the UK. The record- breaking number of people crossing the English Channel has led to the Home Secretary promising an overhaul of what she claims is a “fundamentally broken asylum system”, the key element of this planned overhaul would mean that the way that an asylum seeker arrived in the UK could impact whether their claim is granted.
However, although there have been an increasing number of Channel crossings, arrivals by boat still make up a minority of asylum claims. As well as this, the Home Secretary’s claims that these crossings are illegal are wrong. It is not illegal for asylum seekers to enter the UK using irregular routes providing that they make a claim for asylum upon their arrival. With significantly low numbers of refugees being resettled via official resettlement routes, many have no choice but to make the dangerous Channel crossing to find safety.
Criticism of the Nationality and Borders Bill
The new Nationality and Borders Bill, currently making its way through parliament, has received strong criticism from human rights organisations who claim that it would protect vulnerable people from being able to access asylum in the UK.
Following the publication of the bill, the Refugee Council said:
“The Government has claimed that two of its key objectives are to break up smuggling gangs, while also increasing ‘safe and legal routes’ for refugees to reach the UK. Unfortunately, nothing announced this week will do either of these things. Instead, the provisions in this anti-refugee bill are likely to criminalise and punish many people seeking protection in this country, while also reducing one of the main ways that refugees can legally reach the UK.”
How can IAS help?
If you are seeking asylum in the UK it is highly recommended that you speak with a professional immigration lawyer. The asylum process can be length and complex but our immigration lawyers are experts when it comes to asylum claims. We can assess your eligibility for asylum and will provide you with support throughout the entire asylum process.
Our immigration lawyers also offer assistance with asylum appeals if your claim has been refused by the Home Office.
For more information about how we can assist asylum seekers, get in touch with our team today on 0333 305 3750.
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