A British charity has warned that tens of thousands of people seeking asylum in the UK are forced to wait more than a year before making a decision, which puts them in a state of “cruel and unjust” uncertainty.
A study published by the Refugee Council on Friday found that 33,016 people waited 12 months or more to make a decision in 2020, up from 3,588 in 2010, an increase of more than 800%.
Overall, as of the end of March this year, 66,185 people are waiting for a ruling on their status, which is the highest number in more than a decade and higher than 7,375 in 2010.
Enver Solomon, head of the Refugee Council, said: “It is cruel and unjust to let vulnerable men, women and children wait for years of news of their destiny in a state of uncertainty that feels like never ending.
“This is an extremely inefficient, inefficient and unfair way of operating the refugee protection system.”
The charity stated that the reason for the increasing backlog was the failure to process the number of applications in a timely manner and delays related to the pandemic.
It pointed out that the health crisis led to changes in the Ministry of the Interior’s practices, which undermined efficiency, such as the suspension of interviews during the first nationwide blockade in early 2020.
The number of children waiting for a decision is even more alarming. About 6,687 people were in line last year, compared with 563 a decade ago, an increase of more than 1,000%.
Among those waiting, more than 250 – including 55 children – have been put on hold for five years or more.
The Refugee Council’s report is based on freedom of information requirements, stating that the average waiting time for an initial decision may be between one and three years.
The charity report quoted an asylum seeker who was still awaiting a decision on his case after arriving in the UK with his wife and two children in 2018. He escaped kidnapping and persecution in his home country.
“Sometimes the Ministry of the Interior writes to us saying that we will be interviewing us within six months, but they have had too many times and I can no longer believe their words,” Ahmed changed his name to protect his anonymity. The quote said.
“Your day starts with waiting for the letter and ends like this, every day.”
He continued: “I can’t work here. I have two degrees, one in economics and the other in law, but it doesn’t make any sense here. I like studying and studying. I originally planned to go to university here, here Do a short course, but time is running out.
“I’m 35 years old; maybe I won’t be able to get my status until I’m 40. It doesn’t make sense to receive education. I will consider the education of my child.”
The government does not intend to “repair the broken asylum system”
The charity’s findings came as the British ruling Conservative Party was pushing ahead with plans to reform the asylum law.
The government is expected to submit its Nationality and Borders Bill to Parliament next week.
According to reports, it will include a controversial Terms If approved, this will enable the authorities to establish an Australian-style offshore immigration processing center for the first time.
Officials are seeking to stop the number of immigrants and refugees arriving by boat through the English Channel, and to expel those who enter without a document.
According to the BBC report of the British Home Office data, more than 8,000 people made such a transit last year. According to extensive reports, the transit rate has increased this year.
Solomon said that the government’s reforms may lead to “wait longer, and more people will face years of worry and uncertainty.”
“We need a system that can make timely decisions and ensure that everyone who needs safety gets a fair hearing… Competence and compassion are the most important.”
When asked by Al Jazeera about what measures the Ministry of Interior is taking to resolve the asylum queue, a spokesperson said it was “determined to clear the backlog” and prevent people from staying in the system for a long time.
The spokesperson said that the government plans to “repair the damaged asylum system”, claiming that it was “misused by people who came here illegally, leading to an increase in the number of people in the system and preventing rapid review of real cases.”