September 07, 2003Less than one in five failed asylum seekers is being removed from Britain – even though the whole asylum process is costing taxpayers £5million a day.
‘Despite the”success” claimed by the Government
last week our research has shown that the system is still far from
being on the road to recovery with no improvement in recent years
in the proportion of failed asylum seekers removed – a key
element in any properly managed asylum process.
‘The failure to address this fundamental issue brings the law into disrepute and casts doubt on the credibility of the entire asylum process,’ he said.
1. In the period 1997-2002 388,000 initial decisions have been made on asylum - 81,000 applicants have been granted asylum (either initially or on appeal) and a further 61,000 have been granted exceptional leave to remain (ELR) . This leaves 246,000 applicants who have been refused asylum but, during those 6 years, only 50,000 have been removed. (Source: Asylum Statistics 1997-2002).
2. We have calculated the removal rate for failed asylum seekers by comparing the number of removals with the number of cases where asylum applicants have been refused asylum in the previous year... We have counted those refused asylum as 25% of the numbers refused asylum and ELR at their initial hearing (historically this is the percentage who do not appeal against their decision) plus the number whose appeals have been dismissed. This methodology gives a removal rate of 27% in 2001 falling to19% in 2002 and falling further to 18% so far in 2003-i.e. less than 1 in 5 failed asylum seekers are removed.
3. The Home Office has provided limited data on removals in the first quarter of 2003 and the 595 cases apply to only three of the EU accession countries - Poland, Czech Republic and Lithuania. The total figure for EU accession country removals will therefore be higher than this. No breakdown by nationality was given for the 2nd quarter figures and no reason for this was provided.
4. The £5m a day cost of the asylum process comes from Home Office News Release 058/2003 which gave the estimated cost of asylum seekers in 2002 as £1.8 billion. The cost of legal aid is additional to this and was expected to be £150 million in 2002/3. The cost of the courts is also additional but the government have given no figure for this.