MPs call for rigorous scrutiny of pleas, with 60,000 asylum seekers traceless

At least 1 in 7 claims will be concluded
11th January 2011: The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee has claimed at least 60,000 asylum seekers will be lost without a trace; and their claims will eventually be relegated to a growing pile of pleas, improbable to be ever resolved.
In fact, at least one in seven claims will be concluded on the basis that the UKBA has been completely unable to trace what has happened to the applicant, out of a backlog of approximately 450,000 claims identified in 2006.

The report has led to call for more consistent and rigorous scrutiny of pleas, eventually leading to fewer delays and fewer appeals.

The reason behind the phenomena is that the UK Border Agency is still working at clearing the backlog of claims, the MPs have asserted.

In a significant report, the MPs concluded the UKBA was still failing to meet expectations with delays and backlogs were partly being attributed to insufficient decision-making in the first instance.

The report said: While we agree that the UKBA should not spend unlimited time trying to track down missing applicants, we are concerned about the high proportion of cases which will be left, in effect, in limbo.

`Again, this points to the vital need to deal with cases as expeditiously as possible and not to let backlogs grow.’
The committee’s chairman, Keith Vaz, said much of the delay in concluding asylum and other immigration cases stems from poor quality decision-making, when the application is initially considered.

The UK Border Agency has made some progress over the last few years in relation to new procedures and approaches, but is still failing to meet expectations.

More consistent and rigorous scrutiny of applications would lead to fewer delays, fewer appeals, less uncertainty for the applicant, less pressure on the officials themselves, and probably lower costs for the UK taxpayer.

Greater investment in staff training and a more consistent and considered direction from those setting policy may be needed.

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