Government Defends 100k Asylum Claims Pending in UK

Almost 100,000 people in the UK are waiting for a decision on their asylum claims, and there are concerns that the government is not being honest about the situation. Recent numbers show a bigger problem than the officials promised to fix, leading to disagreements within the government and raising questions about how asylum seekers are being treated. 

The Plight of Asylum Seekers in the UK

A recent examination of the UK’s asylum system revealed that nearly 100,000 individuals are caught in a state of limbo, eagerly awaiting decisions on their asylum claims. This is after allegations that government officials have manipulated official figures to create an illusion of progress in reducing the backlog.

Detailed figures released on a recent Tuesday shed light on the current state of affairs. A staggering 98,599 applicants find themselves within the system, seeking an initial decision on the admissibility of their asylum claims. This number surpasses the ambitious backlog reduction commitment made by Chancellor Rishi Sunak back in 2022.

Debunking the Myth of Legacy Backlog Eradication

Home Secretary James Cleverly’s recent proclamation of successfully ending the so-called “legacy backlog” from 2022 has stirred controversy. Opposition party Labour has accused the prime minister of disseminating a “barefaced lie” to the public, questioning the credibility of the government’s claims.

A closer examination of the statistics revealed a concerning trend. Out of the 112,138 initial asylum decisions made between January and December 28, 2023, a significant 35,119 were classified as “non-substantive decisions.” This category included withdrawn or paused applications, representing a notable increase from previous years. The data suggested that 31% of asylum decisions in 2023 fall into this category, up from 22% in 2022 and 16% in 2021.

Mounting Pressure on the Government

The current backlog of almost 100k cases intensifies the pressure on the government to address internal disputes within the Conservative Party. These internal conflicts have impeded the execution of the government’s plan to relocate asylum seekers to Rwanda, where their claims could be processed.

According to the latest statistics, approximately 34% (33,085) of the existing backlog could be eligible for relocation to Rwanda. However, this proposal, encapsulated in Rishi Sunak’s latest immigration law, the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, has encountered resistance from various factions within the Conservative Party.

Controversy Surrounding Sunak

Rishi Sunak’s commitment to clearing around 92,000 asylum claims by June 2022 has become a focal point of controversy. 

The government asserted progress in 86,800 cases, with ongoing reviews in 4,500 complex cases. However, discrepancies persist regarding whether these cases can genuinely be considered fully resolved, leading to accusations of misleading statements by the opposition.

Home Secretary James Cleverly, in response to mounting criticisms, insisted on Tuesday morning that the government’s approach was fair, “Every single one of those applications has been processed. In the vast majority, a final adjudication has been made. In a small number – about 4,500 where there are discrepancies, where there are further checks, additional work needs to be done,” he said. 

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