September 16, 2004The Prime Ministers article for The Times on 16 September gives an incomplete picture of the position.
|1.||The Prime Ministers new "target" for removals is less than the Governments manifesto commitment. Asylum applications are now running at about 40,000 per year, including dependants. Historically, 60% have been refused asylum or permission to stay. So the new target amounts to 24,000 removals a year compared to a manifesto commitment of 30,000 a year which was later abandoned.
|2.||The article notes that "in 1996, the number of removals was equivalent to only 20% of unsuccessful claims". It does not admit that average removal rate in the period 1997 2003 was also 20%. Selecting the last two quarters and claiming 50% removal is, therefore, misleading.
|3.||Mention is made of the backlog of failed asylum seekers without any indication that the number for whom there is no evidence of departure now exceeds 250,000 (including dependants) in the period 1997 2003.|