Refugee Council has welcomed the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report which criticized the UK Border Agency for failing to fulfil its basic functions.
The Committee found that the Agency has not yet resolved all of the asylum 'legacy' cases first identified in 2006. Instead, there are 17,000 ongoing cases still awaiting a final decision and the Agency appears to be discovering more cases.
When first announced in 2006, the backlog was estimated at 400,000-450,000. The true figure was 502,000 cases.
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said: “Having told the public it had cleared the asylum backlog, this report confirms that the UKBA is still working on live cases. These are people who have been in the UK for years, many living in limbo with no rights, and they deserve a quick and reasonable decision.”
Refugee Council urged the government to heed the warning given in Committee’s report that the UKBA is not using country of origin information appropriately in all cases. A similar warning had been given by the Independent Chief Inspector.
“The selective use of information, speculation and incorrect assumptions in life or death decisions must cease without delay,” Ms. Covey said.
Refugee Council said they were pleased that the report also raised concerns about sending people back to countries like Sri Lanka, where their lives may be at risk. “The UKBA must acknowledge the dangers facing people in their countries of origin and provide protection until they can return home safely. People seeking asylum must get a fair and effective service and a decision that is of the best possible quality,” Ms. Covey said.