Refugee Council: Stop treating asylum cases “as administrative tasks”

It is “disgraceful” to force asylum seekers to wait for years for the outcome of their applications, Refugee Council has said.

A recent report by the Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency strongly criticised the Agency’s handling of the backlog of asylum cases.

It showed that some people were left waiting an average of seven years for a decision on their asylum case.

Reacting to the report, Judith Dennis, Policy Officer at the Refugee Council said: “Yet another report shows that the UKBA is failing to sort the cases in the asylum backlog, causing ongoing suffering for those who have patiently waited for years for a decision.”

Dennis asked the government to acknowledge the human cost of this administrative chaos.

“It is disgraceful that people have been forced to wait for years for the promised ‘conclusion’ of their application. In one case a person was left in limbo for 17 years,” Dennis said. “Some are extremely vulnerable, and include elderly people, and those who came here on their own as children. They are unable to get on with their lives, many living without support or access to basic services. We know from our own work that in many cases, people’s mental and physical health deteriorates as a result.”

The Refugee Council criticised the UKBA for treating asylum cases “as administrative tasks on the bottom of their priority list, not as people whose lives are on hold.”

Dennis asked the UKBA to “urgently put resources in to ensuring people are finally given a right and fair decision. Those who waited longest got the worst deal – ‘conclusion’ for them has been a grant of more temporary leave. It is only fair that those who are allowed to stay should be given permanent residence; after years of living in limbo, they must be allowed to put roots down and start rebuilding their lives.”

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