Failed asylum seekers reapply
By Philip Johnston, Home Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 2:26am GMT 19/01/2007
Hundreds of failed asylum seekers who have exhausted all avenues of appeal have been allowed to reapply, new figures show.
They include 80 repeat applications from Afghanistan and 30 from Turkey.
A Commons written answer disclosed that in the past two years, 520 applications had been received from people who had previously been rejected both in the initial stage and at appeal.
Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, conceded that the figures were not normally published and were based on “internal management information”.
Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, signatory countries are obliged to consider the asylum application of anyone to assess whether they have a “well-founded fear of being persecuted”, even if the individual had previously been turned down.
If they are facing deportation to a place where security has deteriorated since first applying, or there are new risks of persecution, the applicant might have a case.
Damian Green, the Tory immigration spokesman, said: “These figures show that for all John Reid's tough talk, he has done nothing to solve the inefficiencies in the asylum system, which hit genuine refugees and the British taxpayer alike.”
The reapplications will add millions to the cost of asylum processing.
According to the National Audit office, in 2003 the average cost of processing an initial asylum application was just over 3,000. An appeal costs another 4,500.
This includes support and accommodation costs of around 147 for each week an application is in process, or more if the applicant has dependants. The annual cost of running the asylum system is more than 1.5 billion.