Home Office accused of building delays into plan to speed asylum claims

The Home Office has been accused of deliberately introducing delays into a scheme designed to speed up the process of asylum claims in the UK.

The scheme, announced in February, aimed to reduce the waiting time for asylum claims to be processed from up to a year, to just six months. However, a recent report by the independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration has found that the Home Office has built in numerous delays into the system, meaning that the six-month target is unlikely to be achieved.

The report found that the Home Office had “insufficiently considered the practical implications” of the scheme, leading to a “lack of clarity” and “unnecessary delays in decision-making”. It also highlighted a number of problems with the system’s IT infrastructure, which is hindering the processing of claims.

The findings have been met with criticism from refugee and migrant rights organisations, who argue that the delays are unacceptable. “The government’s delays in processing asylum claims are already causing serious harm to vulnerable people,” said Stephen Hale, Chief Executive of Refugee Action. “It’s unacceptable that the Home Office has failed to adequately plan the roll-out of the new system, meaning it will not deliver the promised six-month target.”

The report has also raised concerns that the scheme’s delays could affect the rights of those seeking asylum in the UK. Claire Colleran, a Senior Policy Officer at the Refugee Council, said: “It is vital that the Home Office gets this right and puts in place a system that is swift, effective, and compliant with the UK’s obligations under international law.”

The Home Office has responded to the report, saying that it is “committed” to implementing the scheme and that it is “working to address the issues raised” by the chief inspector.

The debacle has highlighted the need for the Home Office to ensure that the new system is robust and properly planned, in order to ensure that asylum seekers are not subjected to unnecessary delays.