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Some UK asylum seekers waiting over 20 years for Home Office decisions on their application for asylum

A detailed investigation by The Guardian newspaper into the length of time asylum seekers spend waiting for Home Office decisions on their claims for asylum has revealed that some people are hanging on for over 20 years for a final decision. In 2017 alone, 17 people were advised on the final outcome of claims submitted over 15 years back, with four of these people waiting 20 years for the final decision. One asylum seeker had waited more than 26 years for a decision on his case.

The Guardian obtained the information after submitting enquiries under the freedom of information rulings, and the data supplied purely relates to the amount of time the Home Office has taken to make initial decisions on claims for asylum. It does not relate to any additional time taken over appeals or making fresh asylum claims.

How does this long wait affect asylum seekers in the UK?

One of the major problems faced by UK asylum seekers waiting for claims decisions is that they’re not allowed to work and are just provided with £37.75 weekly subsistence allowance. It’s understood that many of these claimants will forgo meals and walk anywhere they need to go in order to keep in touch with family and friends back in their country of origin. All asylum seekers are provided with accommodation while their claim is being processed, however. This will often be a room in a house that’s shared with other asylum seekers.

Stephen Hale, who is the Chief Executive of Refugee Action, commented: “Forcing some people to wait more than 15 years for a decision on their asylum claim while banned from work and living below the poverty line is utterly barbaric”.

Home Office figures for 2017 show that 75% (18,189) of asylum application decisions were made within six months of any application, 2,832 applications took between six and 12 months, while 3,059 application decisions took between one and three years. A further 243 asylum decisions took from three to five years.

You can read the complete report on The Guardian.

Richmond Chambers provides barrister-only legal services to immigrants to the UK, so if you’re an asylum seeker looking to submit an asylum application or appeal a Home Office asylum decision get in touch today to find out more.


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