Refugee Council has urged the government to speed up the processing of asylum applications.
Judith Dennis, Policy Manager at the Refugee Council, said: “It is disgraceful that the numbers of people having to wait for unbearably long periods for the Home Office to decide their fate has risen so drastically. This means more and more lives spent in limbo and fear, which can have a hugely damaging impact on people’s mental health and chance to properly rebuild their lives here.”
She observed that the delays were indicative of an inefficient asylum system that needed urgent attention.
“Mammoth backlogs and overstretched capacity mean that the Home Office seems to lose sight of that fact that they are dealing with the lives of real people. The Home Office must address this issue immediately,” Ms Dennis said.
Commenting on the latest immigration statistics published by the Home Office showing that there was a 21% drop in asylum applications, Ms Dennis said such a drop “doesn’t signal that the world is a safer place, as much as we would like it to.”
“On the contrary,” she said, “more people are fleeing persecution than ever before. Deals with countries at the edge of Europe or Africa are preventing people from arriving here; trapping them in dangerous countries such as Libya or countries such as Turkey that don’t afford them the rights refugees should have.”
Refugee Council urged the government to urgently put protection at the heart of global discussions. “This means providing more safe, regular routes for people to travel to the UK in search of safety. For example, ensuring that people living in precarious and unsustainable situations are able to unite with family members in the UK by more humane refugee family reunion policies.”