I share concerns about the effectiveness of our current asylum system and its lack of transparency and accountability.
The recent ‘Waiting in the Dark’ report by Refugee Action argues that the asylum system dehumanises, disempowers and damages those who rely on it. The report highlights how people are often waiting more than six months, sometimes years, for a decision on their asylum claim.
Asylum seekers are overwhelmingly accommodated in poorer areas of the country. This includes Liverpool. These areas are already suffering significant cuts to local government and are now asked to absorb extra costs that come with housing and integrating high numbers of asylum seekers and refugees. Those seeking asylum and the communities where they are allocated are being let down.
Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in the UK unless their claim has been outstanding for at least 12 months through no fault of their own, whereas those granted refugee status have unrestricted rights to work in the UK.
Figures show that at the end of 2017 there were over 10,000 asylum applications pending initial decision for more than six months. This is concerning as real people suffer when the Home Office takes too long to decide a claim. The government should urgently implement a streamlined system that assesses claims fairly, in a timely way, and treats asylum seekers humanely.
I would like to see an end to the entire hostile environment policy and a review of how the Home Office treats immigrants and asylum seekers. I hope that the government will carefully consider the points raised by Refugee Action in its recent report.