Warning of new asylum backlog
A new backlog of tens of thousands of asylum claims could be building up because officials are chasing targets they are not going to meet, the new immigration watchdog has warned.
By Tom Whitehead
The Telegraph (U.K.), February 26, 2010
John Vine, the Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, said promises to clear the 450,000 so-called 'legacy' historic files by 2011 in unlikely to be met while a pledge to deal with most new asylum claims within a six-month period by the end of next year is 'unachievable'.
As a result, almost 30,000 claims are already beyond the six month period.
Mr Vine also warned the Government risked losing appeals against asylum refusals because officials were not even attending in some cases as they were diverted to dealing with the backlogs or targets.
Mr Vine said: 'Of real concern is the UK Border Agency's inconsistency of approach across regions when presenting cases at asylum appeal hearings. Ideally there should be representation from the Agency and a failure to attend could therefore increase the risk of decisions being overturned.'
It came as Home Office figures showed the number of asylum claims, including dependants, fell by 27 per cent in the last three months of 2009 to 5,895, as compared with the same period in 2008.
But, at the same time, the number of removals of failed asylum seekers fell by eight per cent to 2,425.
EDITORS NOTE: The Chief Inspectors (U.K. Border Agency) report is available online at: