Home office still struggling to clear asylum backlog

More than 135,000 allowed to stay in Britain 11th October 2010: More than 135,000 failed asylum seekers have been granted permanent residence in Britain, as the Home Office is struggling to clear a backlog of cases.
It is estimated that 2,000 cases a week are now being approved for permanent residence. With another 100,000 in the pipeline, the final total could reach 240,000.

The difficulties faced by the Home Office go back to 2006. At that time, the then Home Secretary, John Reid, demanded urgent action to clear a backlog of 450,000 files found languishing in a warehouse.

According to the reports, 324,357 of the cases had been dealt with by mid-September. Out of this, 135,280 had been allowed to remain in Britain. Only 34,979 were instructed to leave Britain.

The critics believe granting indefinite leave to asylum seekers to remain in Britain can eventually lead to the granting of British citizenship. Philip Davies, Conservative Member Parliament for Shipley, said the move was totally unacceptable. This should not be the basis of being allowed to stay in the country.

He added that it would make the system a complete travesty and would encourage more people to take a chance and come to the country. Philip feared that once the asylum seekers came to realise what shambles the system was, more and more people would come here to get lucky.

Due to the delay, the Home Office stands a risk of legal challenge under European Human Rights Legislation if it takes a tougher line and barred more people.

The UK Border Agency ( UKBA) sought to defend its handling of the cases among charges, that failed asylum seekers were being granted a backdoor official pardon.

A spokesman said that all legacy cases were considered on their individual merits and the UKBA was confident that they will conclude the backlog by summer 2011. He added that the majority of asylum applications were now concluded within six months.

The contentions of the UKBA failed to satisfy Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of the campaign group, Migration watch. He asserted this was an awful legacy from the previous Government and its impact would result in encouraging more bogus asylum seekers.

The move has come under criticism from many quarters. The critics claim many of the foreigners – whose applications had been turned down – were subject to only superficial checks in order to pace them through the system.

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