Asylum Legacy Policy Update

UK Border Agency struggles to deal with asylum application backlog

The Home Affairs Select Committee has published a new report on the work of the UK Border Agency (UKBA), pointing to the way how the agency deals with the backlog of approximately 450,000 unresolved asylum applications which was build up during 1990s and 2000s.

The Committee reports that 403,500 asylum cases have been concluded with 38,000 applicants being returned to their countries, 161,000 given leave to remain, and in 74,500 cases applicants cannot be located. Meanwhile, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency confirmed press reports that a new backlog emerged, the size of which is not determined.

The report emphasizes the need to improve the quality of initial decision-making in order to avoid the substantial delays, financial costs and human suffering that currently occur. Although there has been some improvement, the quality of decision-making and administration between different offices remains inconsistent.

Chairman of the Committee, Keith Vaz said that “Though progress has been made it is clear that the UK Border Agency is still not fit for purpose. While there is no doubt that individual caseworkers are dedicated and hard-working, there are serious concerns over the agency’s ability to deal with cases and respond to intelligence swiftly and thoroughly”.


Meanwhile the Guardian newspaper claims that 160,000 asylum seekers have been granted an amnesty through the back door, referring to the work of the Legacy Cases Unit of the UK Border Agency

whilst the Migrants Rights Network, as usual, provides a more balanced and realistic view of recent development in asylum seekers being granted the right to live in the UK