Asylum seekers stay back, as Home Office fails to send staff

Sometimes cases are not contested as circumstances of appellant change

26th April 2010: The alleged failure of the Home Office to send its staff to one in five appeal hearings is eventually allowing immigrants and asylum seekers to stay in the country.

The Home Office officials are supposed to defend decisions on asylum and immigration. But the figures obtained under freedom of information laws show they did not appear for as many as 34,627 appeals last year.

The figure was more than double the 2006 figure of 15,272. Half of these hearings resulted in a victory for the appellant

Reacting to the data, the Conservative shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said it was inexcusable.

Elaborating, he said it was inexcusable for people illegally in Britain to avoid deportation simply because of the Home Office people did not reach the hearings.

Asserting the problem required to be sorted out, he said it undermines claims by ministers that they have secured Britain’s borders.

Immigration minister Phil Woolas, on the other hand, said the government was not able to send the staff all the hearings, as sometimes there were shortages.

Woolas said at the same time they were working through a huge backlog of cases. The Home Office was always sending staff to those cases where an individual was considered a threat to the public in some way. Often, they did choose not to fight a case, as the circumstances of the appellant change

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