The number of migrants who have been waiting more than 3 years to process asylum claims in the UK has more than quadrupled in 18 months as a backlog of immigration paperwork deepens and leaves thousands in limbo.
The new figures show that there is a significant increase in the number of asylum seekers who have been waiting for years for initial decisions on their claims.
It comes at a time when Interior Minister Soila Braverman and her French counterpart, Gerald Darmanin, are expected to announce a “ten-point immigration plan”.
On Sunday, it was confirmed in advance that more than 40,000 migrants have crossed the Channel this year, which means that the number is already thousands more than the total number of migrants this year. [المهاجرين الذين جاؤوا] During the entire year of 2021.
Robert Jenrick, the immigration minister, insisted on the need for more modest housing [حالياً يعيش جزء كبير من المهاجرين في فنادق] To remove the ‘pull factor’ for those finding their way to the UK in small boats.
In an article published by The Sunday Telegraph, Jenrick said a “chronic lack of acceptable accommodation” for record numbers of migrants had forced the government to provide expensive, often inadequate hotels, resulting in taxpayers footing the cost. endure Unacceptable.
The newspaper reports that ministers are considering adopting larger sites to house migrants, including student dormitories, holiday parks and cruise ships.
In December 2020, there were 2,284 adults and children awaiting a decision. [بشأن طلب اللجوء] for more than three years, but by June 2022 the number had risen to 10,276 [شخصاً ينتظر] This is a 350 percent increase, figures obtained by the charity Refugee Council show.
Deliberations by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee last month revealed that by 2021 only 4 per cent of applications were processed by boat arrivals.
This means that tens of thousands of people are living in limbo in hotels while they await a decision on their claims. In addition, 33,746 adults have been waiting for more than a year, according to the latest figures.
Home Office data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed a further 570 people were awaiting a decision. [بشأن طلباتهم] More than five years ago, while 155 people were under the age of 18 when they first applied for asylum, they also remain in a similar situation.
“I’m living in hell,” says Sudanese “Abu” (the name has been changed to protect the identity of the person), who has been housed in a Yorkshire hotel for almost a year awaiting news of his asylum claim . .
Abu, who fled Sudan in the wake of the 2021 coup, said he felt depressed and angry. “You feel useless. I’ve even started to wonder if you’re a useful person? If I get refugee status, will they accept us, or will it continue like this?”
He indicated that he felt the government was waiting for him to do something wrong, “to do something wrong because they will try to push you out of the country.”
“The most important thing when you’re a refugee is to reintegrate, to integrate into society, to feel like you’re living a normal life, not like you’re in detention. Here I am chained.” Abu previously lived in the UK when his wife was studying at university and at that time was working in the hospitality sector.
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On his return he now finds himself unable to work, explaining: “I have no credit and I can’t charge my phone. I don’t have enough money. If I go out, if I go to a new place, can’t come back.”
As of last June, 122,206 people were waiting for a preliminary decision on their asylum application. This represents a fourfold increase in five years from what it was in December 2017, when 29,522 people were waiting.
It is worth noting that the government spends about 7 million pounds (about 8.21 million dollars) a day to accommodate asylum seekers in hotels.
Alice Giuliato, who supports asylum seekers in east London hotel accommodation with the Ramfel charity, said the long periods adults and families spent in hotels affected their physical and mental health.
She explained, “Families report the same issues. Chief among them is the food they say is not edible. As a result, the children do not want to eat while they are malnourished. General doctors told us that the children lose weight because they don’t want to eat this food.”
“Cleanliness is also a big problem. Someone sent us videos showing mice in his bedroom, and some families are separated, half of them live in one hotel and the other half in another,” Giuliato added.
“People have mental health issues as a result of being stuck in a hotel for a very long time,” Giuliato said. “Asylum seekers also receive £8 ($10) a week after being approved for Section 95 benefits.” [تسمح بتقديم الدعم لطلاب اللجوء المعدمين]Therefore, they cannot move freely.
Droga Sivasathiaselan, a general practitioner at the charity Doctors of the World, said asylum seekers were given very limited information to help them when they arrived at the hotel.
“Some people had mental health crises when I met them. The nature of the conditions in most of their places certainly only exacerbates it,” she added. [مشكلات] their mental health.”
And the doctor added, “The length of stay has been extended [في الفنادق] Certainly. We support people who live in this type of accommodation for a year or more, up to two years. These sites are not designed for that, but are intended for stays of up to 12 weeks.”
She went on to explain that some hotel rooms do not have windows, and there are no kitchens for people to prepare their own food.
For his part, Anwar Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, noted that “immediate action must be taken to address the large number of late applications from men, women and children, whose applicants are trapped in a state of uncertainty. “
“These people came to the UK in search of safety but were condemned to years of anxiety and uncertainty, which took a huge toll on their mental health, instead of taking root in their new community and building their lives. rebuild.”
Monday’s announcement by Braverman is expected to include measures to work more closely with French officials and increase patrols.
A Home Office spokesman said it was doing “everything to address this issue”.
“We have increased the number of processing staff by 80 per cent to more than 1,000, and a successful pilot scheme has doubled the average number of asylum applications processed, an experiment which is now being rolled out across the country,” he added.