What Causes Asylum Claim Delays?
The delays in asylum claim processing in the UK are a growing concern as the numbers have increased rapidly since 2018. As of July 2023, 136,779 cases were awaiting an initial decision.
These include applicants awaiting a substantive interview and those who have attended an interview and are yet to receive a decision from the Home Office.
There are many factors contributing to these prolonged waiting periods, and here are some of them.
High Volume of Applications
A primary cause for delays in cases awaiting an initial decision is the higher volume of cases entering the asylum application system than those receiving their decisions.
The Home Office already faces the formidable challenge of managing a substantial backlog of asylum cases. The overwhelming volume of incoming applications has placed immense strain on the UK asylum system, resulting in processing delays.
Lengthy Screening Process
A rigorous screening and investigative procedure is required for asylum petitions to confirm the validity of the applicant’s claim. The investigation of the applicant’s history, justifications for requesting asylum, and eligibility takes time.
A primary contributor to the backlog is the limitation of resources within the Home Office. The available asylum decision-makers are stretched thin by the ever-increasing number of asylum applications.
Also, expert reports showed that the Home Office’s reliance on antiquated IT systems, such as off-the-shelf spreadsheets, increased the delays. These constraints hinder the Home Office’s ability to schedule interviews and process cases.
The Complexity of Some Cases
Asylum claims that are intricate or require thorough investigation often take more time to resolve. For instance, cases involving several dependents or a history of prior asylum applications may require extra interviews and comprehensive documentation and will take longer to process.
Challenges Faced by Applicants Due to These Delays
Asylum applicants endure numerous challenges due to delays in receiving a decision. Prolonged uncertainty may take a toll on their mental and emotional well-being.
Anxiety from not knowing when their claims will be examined or what the outcome will be makes them live in constant fear of being rejected or deported.
Asylum seekers also face difficulties securing stable housing, employment, healthcare and education while awaiting a decision. Some experience financial strain from relying on meagre asylum support payments from the government or charities.
What are the Government’s Plans to Reduce the Backlog?
The Home Office has taken several measures to address the asylum backlog. These steps include increasing its workforce by hiring additional staff and effectively expanding the number of asylum decision-makers to over 1,000.
The Home Office has also streamlined the interview process by introducing questionnaires that help speed up decision-making. It also established specialised case working units that shorten the wait time for individuals of certain nationalities with high grant rates since the outcomes are likely known.
Write to the Home Office
You can inquire directly from the Home Office about your asylum case via mail at PO Box 471, Dover, CT16 9FN. In your inquiry, find out why there’s a delay in processing your claim and request an estimated timeline for a decision.
Most importantly, if you’ve experienced stress and anxiety as a result of the delay or you have an urgent need to get a decision, let the Home Office know. You can back up your claim with proof, such as medical evidence or documents showing you’ve been separated from your family due to the delay.
Contact Your Local Member of Parliament
Engaging your local Member of Parliament (MP) may be beneficial in addressing asylum delays. Your MP can directly liaise with the Home Office on your behalf, potentially expediting your case.
Furthermore, involving your MP can shed light on the widespread issue of Home Office delays in your constituency, encouraging them to raise the matter in Parliament for increased attention and advocacy.
While not guaranteed, Parliament has been known to address evidence of asylum delays in the past, and this approach may prompt a quicker response from immigration authorities.
Initiate a Judicial Review
If other approaches don’t work, consider initiating a judicial review to challenge the Home Office’s delay in deciding your case.
This legal avenue argues that extended delays in processing asylum claims and the absence of reliable timeframes for decisions are unlawful and breach human rights. Initiate the process with a Pre Action Protocol (PAP) Letter to the Home Office, preferably through a legal representative.
While the process may be costly and time-consuming, it can increase your chances of achieving a favourable outcome.
The long wait for a Home Office decision can be really tough and emotionally exhausting. If you’ve been experiencing delays in your asylum claim, it’s advisable to discuss your case with an immigration lawyer.
At Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we are committed to helping you with your asylum and immigration applications. Our attorneys will evaluate your case, provide you with personalised guidance on how to prepare for your interview, and liaise with the Home Office on your behalf.
We will keep you updated on the status of your application and ensure you receive a fair outcome. To get started, call us at 0121 667 6530 or contact us online.
Last modified on November 1st, 2023 at 9:12 am
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The time between your screening and interview can vary from a few months to over a year due to backlogs and other factors.
You will receive a refusal letter and be asked to depart the UK. You may have the right to appeal, and it’s crucial to seek legal advice to explore your options.
If you no longer wish to claim asylum, you must notify the Home Office. However, cancelling an asylum application is a complicated process. The Home Office will assess whether you hold the mental capacity to make an informed decision before recording the case as explicitly withdrawn.
You will be asked to return to your home country, except if you cancelled your claim because you got leave to remain via another immigration route in the UK.