Magazine article Public Finance

Asylum-Seeker Backlog Remains but New System 'Fit for Purpose'

Magazine article Public Finance

Asylum-Seeker Backlog Remains but New System 'Fit for Purpose'

Article excerpt

The government has made slow progress against its target to clear a backlog of 450,000 asylum seekers' case files despite a five-year plan introduced last summer, the chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency has told Public Finance.

Lin Homer said that BIA officials have spent the past year developing a system to deal with the vast numbers of unprocessed asylum claims uncovered following last year's foreign prisoner scandal at the Home Office.

Following the furore, former home secretary John Reid promised to clear the backlog by July 2011. Asked if the BIA was on course to meet the target, Homer told PF: 'We think we are - but that does not mean that we've cleared a fifth of the cases. What we've done in the first year is plan and put in place [the] mechanisms.'

But while the new system has helped to speed up 'new claim' decisions - leading the BIA to announce last week that record numbers of failed claimants (63,865) were removed in 2006 - a senior Home Office source said that 'comparatively few' older case flies had been processed by this summer. …

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