UK will be home for 144,000 asylum seekers, by default

At least 7,000 may never be traced; their files have been archived 10th July 2009: As many as 144,000 asylum seekers will stay in the UK, by default. The Home Office has its hands full with a huge backlog of 450,000 claims. Out of the total, more than 144,000 immigrants will now be free to stay on human rights grounds, as they have now settled with their families here and are protected under the right to family life.

The Home Office would face difficulty in trying to remove them, as they have been in the UK for so long. In some cases, it was also unsafe to return the asylum seekers. The list includes 4,900 from Pakistan, 5,150 from Zimbabwe and 4,500 from Somalia.

Chief executive of the UK Border Agency Lin Homer told a committee at least 7,000 may never be traced and their files have been archived.

Ms. Homer said officials working through the "legacy" backlog examined 197,500 cases; the approval rate was 32 per cent. If that continues, some 144,000 will be able to stay, once all the case files have been looked at.

The 450,000 files in the ‘Case Resolution Programme’ were unearthed in 2006. Among them are claimants, who could have been deported as far back as the mid-1990s.

Ministers have promised to work through all the cases by 2011. Ms. Homer said she was confident that target would still be met.

Reacting to the developments, Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said it was ridiculous that government’s incompetence, rather than fair assessment of the original case, was the deciding factor, adding they would never have reached the sorry state, had the border control policies been any good in the first place.

Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch UK said a huge number of people were being allowed to stay indefinitely in Britain as a result of Home Office’s astonishing incompetence.

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