Immigration statistics for year ending September 2022 provide further evidence of poor and slow decision-making at the Home Office that may delay or deny justice for people claiming asylum in the UK, the Law Society has said.
‘Far too many people are waiting far too long for a decision on their request for sanctuary in the UK,’ said the Society’s deputy vice president Richard Atkinson. A staggering 148,533 individuals were waiting for a decision from the Home Office on their claim for asylum in the year to September 2022 (up from 87,995 in Sept 2021).
Atkinson noted that, in the year to September, just 16,400 initial decisions were made by the Home Office, ‘barely denting the backlog’.
‘The number of people waiting longer than six months for a decision on their asylum claim has nearly doubled in that time, to 97,717 in September 2022 – up from 56,520 in September 202. Data is not available to show how much longer than six months people are being left in limbo.
‘We know from today’s data that 77% of applicants were recognized as refugees at initial decision – a quarter of them were children.
‘We can also see from the data there is still a problem with the quality of Home Office decision-making. 52% of decisions were overturned when appealed,’ Atkinson added.
He called on the government to honor the UK’s obligations to refugees, as enshrined in the United Nations Refugee Convention. ‘The UK should have a properly functioning immigration and asylum system which reflects the values of British justice – it should be fair, efficient and provide timely, lawful decisions.’