UK net migration news: Asylum system needs 'complete overhaul,' charities warn

UK net migration news: Asylum system needs ‘complete overhaul,’ charities warn


Autumn Budget: Chancellor increases energy windfall tax to raise extra £14bn

The asylum and immigration system needs a “complete overhaul” charities have warned, adding that the structure is in “serious peril.”

Amnesty International called for the provision of safe routes for people seeking to come to Britain, faster processing of claims and an end to the plan to send migrants to Rwanda.

Marley Morris, IPPR associate director for migration, trade and communities, said the asylum system was in “serious peril,” while charity Freedom from Torture said the government had run the asylum system into the ground.

The organization’s refugee and migrant rights director, Steve Valdez-Symonds, said: “On the anniversary of the tragic mass drownings in the Channel, these figures show the UK’s system for processing asylum claims remains in complete disarray.

Shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the Conservative Party failed to stop dangerous Channel crossings and tackle criminal gangs

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Jeremy Hunt says Boris Johnson’s £840-a-roll ‘gold’ wallpaper is already peeling

The eye-wateringly expensive ‘gold’ wallpaper used by Boris Johnson in an infamous makeover of his Downing Street flat when he was prime minister was already peeling off, says Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Johnson hit the headlines in April last year when it emerged that he and his wife Carrie spent tens of thousands of pounds on a luxury revamp of the flat above No 11 Downing Street.

It later came to light that work, inspired by upmarket interior eco designer Lulu Lytle, had been paid in part by Lord Brownlow, a Conservative Party peer, sparking claims that Mr Johnson broke spending rules, although he was eventually cleared by his “independent” advisers.

Read the full story from our reporter, Matt Mathers:

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 14:37

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Asked when the government would get control of the borders back, the prime minister’s official spokesman acknowledged the system was “broken”.

“The prime minister has emphasized that this is a priority of which he is spending a substantial amount of his time,” the spokesman told reporters.

“He has been clear that he wants to further grip the issue, particularly of illegal immigration, which is the main source of the fact that, whilst we have such substantive numbers making these routes, we cannot truly have control over those numbers that come in every day.”

There had been “some progress” after talks with France’s Emmanuel Macron but “there is much more to do in this area”.

The UK and other countries also faced “global migrations across Europe at the moment caused by the war” in Ukraine and “some unusual patterns following the end of the global pandemic”, the spokesman added.

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 14:19

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Asylum system needs ‘complete overhaul,’ charities warn

Amnesty International called for a “complete overhaul” of the asylum and immigration system, providing safe routes for people seeking to come to Britain, faster processing of claims and an end to the plan to send migrants to Rwanda.

The organization’s refugee and migrant rights director, Steve Valdez-Symonds, said: “On the anniversary of the tragic mass drownings in the Channel, these figures show the UK’s system for processing asylum claims remains in complete disarray.

“The asylum backlog totally unacceptable is the inevitable result of government policy that has expended huge resources and money on the disastrous Rwanda deal and other damaging distractions from the main job at hand – simply dealing with people’s claims as fairly and as efficiently as possible.”

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 14:00

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Rishi Sunak wants to reduce immigration levels, Downing Street insists

Downing Street insisted Rishi Sunak wanted to bring overall immigration levels down after net migration to the UK climbed to a record half a million.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said “unprecedented and unique circumstances” had caused the rise.

He said home office statistics show the UK helped to safety more than 144,000 people from Hong Kong, 144,600 from Ukraine and 22,000 from Afghanistan.

“The prime minister is fully committed to bringing overall numbers down,” the spokesman said.

“There are some unprecedented and unique circumstances which are having a significant impact on these statistics.

“The prime minister has said he wants net migration to reduce, he has not put a specific timeframe on that.”

(PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 13:50

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Asylum system in ‘serious peril,’ charities warn

Marley Morris, IPPR associate director for migration, trade and communities, said the asylum system is in “serious peril.”

“The new migration statistics today tell two stories about immigration to the UK. On the one hand, higher net migration was driven in large part by rising student numbers and the new Ukraine humanitarian routes – reflecting the generosity of the British public in opening their homes in exceptional numbers to welcome Ukrainians escaping the Russian invasion.

“On the other hand, the figures also show an asylum system in serious peril, with the backlog of claims growing further. Urgent action is needed to tackle the backlog and to work with local authorities to find suitable accommodation for asylum applicants.

“Today also marks one year on from the tragic deaths of 32 people on the Channel. With numbers of small boats crossing the Channel continuing to rise, the government must work closely with France and the EU to stop the dangerous crossings and provide safe and legal alternatives.”

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 13:35

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The migration system is in ‘crisis,’ charities warn

Steve Crawshaw, director of policy and advocacy at Freedom from Torture, said: “Today’s immigration statistics paint a picture of a system in crisis – insufficient decisions being made, a bigger backlog and more refugees held in limbo. This government has run the asylum system into the ground and is using their failure to justify more and more extreme policies.

“A year on from the disaster that claimed 32 lives in the Channel, this government’s abrogation of responsibility for those seeking safety in this country is unconscionable. The government must end their deliberate neglect of the asylum system, repeat them and urgently expand safe routes to prevent further tragedies.”

Maria Stephens, head of campaigns at refugee action, said: “Snowballing delays in processing asylum claims are destroying lives.

“Waiting in limbo for a decision is catastrophic for the mental health of people seeking asylum, who must live in poverty and isolation.

“It’s time ministers stopped blowing taxpayers money on cruel and ineffective deterrence policies such as its awful deal with Rwanda and fix the asylum system they’ve broken. “And the Government must give people the right to work – which would improve the wellbeing of people in the system, allow businesses to hire staff, and save the taxpayer £330 million a year.”

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 13:15

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Yvette Cooper MP, Labor’s shadow home secretary, said while there are unique circumstances behind the latest migration figures, the Conservative Party has failed to stop dangerous Channel crossings and tackle criminal gangs.

“Despite their promises to stop dangerous Channel crossings, they’ve failed to tackle the criminal gangs, and the asylum decision making has collapsed – with only 2 per cent of people who arrived in small boats over the last year having had their cases decided,” Ms Cooper said.

“Work visas have also substantially increased as a result of major skills shortages in the UK – yet the Conservatives are not taking any serious action to address skills shortages here at home.”

Labor’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper

(PA)

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 12:50

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The British Red Cross issued an appeal for ministers to accelerate the processing of asylum claims after today’s figures showed a 74 per cent increase in the backlog to more than 120,000.

Of those, 117,400 had received no initial decision, including 79,314 who had been waiting for more than six months.

The British Red Cross said the Home Office should speed up handling of cases from five countries – Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Eritrea and Sudan – where asylum is granted in the vast majority of cases. The 39,408 nationals of these countries make up one-third of the total backlog.

The charity’s Jon Featonby said priority should also be given to those who have been waiting the longest, in some cases more than two years.

“The backlog in asylum decisions is increasing at an alarming rate,” said Mr Featonby. “This means more men, women and children are waiting for years for a response to their asylum claim.

“The longer people wait for an asylum decision the longer they are living in unsuitable accommodation without certainty – no work, no permanent place to live and no way to start the process of reuniting with family members. This is having a devastating impact on people’s mental and physical health.

“The people we support here in the UK have already experienced unimaginable suffering. They have been forced to flee their homes and they need stability, security and to feel safe.

“Urgent steps are needed to address the backlog in asylum decisions, so people are not forced to live in limbo.

(Getty Images)

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 12:31

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Tory MPs mount pressure on Rishi Sunak as net migration hits record levels

Rishi Sunak is under intense pressure from Tory MPs over a huge leap in net migration, which has climbed to a record half a million, according to official figures.

Some 504,000 more people are estimated to have moved to the UK than left in the 12 months to June 2022 – up sharply from 173,000 in the year to June 2021.

Unsurprisingly, Downing Street is keen to leap on the conclusion of the Office for National Statistics that “unprecedented world events” lie behind the sudden increase.

The prime minister’s spokesman said they “naturally reflect” the UK’s decision to open its doors to large numbers of refugees from Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan.

He said Mr. Sunak “is fully committed to bringing overall numbers down”. However, asked when that would happen, he added: “He has not put a specific timeframe on that.”

The answer may not be good enough for Conservatives worried that rising immigration – and the small boats crisis on the Channel – is an opening for Nigel Farage to prize away Tory voters in the next general election.

(Getty)

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 12:15

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Migration figures highlight the government’s ‘neglect and mismanagement’ of the asylum system

Commenting on the quarterly immigration statistics released this morning by the government, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:

“These statistics underline yet again the government’s neglect and mismanagement of the asylum system due to a failure to invest in creating an orderly, efficient and effective system.

“The number of men, women and children now living in limbo has increased by 20,000 in just three months, meaning 143,000 are now waiting for an initial decision on their case with just under 98,000 waiting more than six months.

“Given the number of asylum applications which are agreed is at its highest level for 32 years – reflecting the global refugee crisis with millions of people fleeing their homes because of war, conflict and persecution – these new Home Office statistics underline why urgent action from government is so important.

“Ministers must set up a dedicated and well-resourced task force to improve the processing of asylum claims, both to reduce the human misery caused by the long delay for a decision but also the spiraling costs of accommodating those on the waiting list, which has reached more than £2bn a year.

“We at the Refugee Council stand ready to work with ministers and others to address this crisis: without further steps to build on those taken so far by the Home Secretary, this issue will continue to seriously harm the asylum system into 2023.”

Thomas KingsleyNovember 24, 2022 11:54

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