Politics

Sunak’s asylum laws trapping 55,000 people in ‘perma-backlog’, says UK thinktank | Immigration and asylum

Sunak’s asylum laws trapping 55,000 people in ‘perma-backlog’, says UK thinktank | Immigration and asylum

Rishi Sunak’s asylum laws have introduced a “perma-backlog” of up to 55,000 people who cannot have their claims processed and risk being left indefinitely in taxpayer-funded temporary accommodation, according to a new report.

The Institute for Public Policy Research said that anyone arriving in the UK via irregular means after 20 July 2023 cannot have their claim processed and instead will be removed to their home country or to a third country such as Rwanda following the introduction of the Illegal Migration Act.

At the same time, pre-existing laws mean that irregular arrivals since 7 March 2023 cannot be given permission to stay. Reports suggest that these claims are also on hold, the thinktank said.

The report says it is highly doubtful the small country of Rwanda will ever be able to accept tens of thousands of people.

Marley Morris, associate director for migration at IPPR, said: “Chaos in the Home Office has led to tens of thousands of asylum seekers stuck in a perma-backlog, unable to get on with their lives and costing the taxpayer millions. This was an entirely predictable outcome of the Illegal Migration Act. The only way to escape this situation is for the Home Office to start processing claims.”

The IPPR’s warning came as James Cleverly, the home secretary, said wealthy nations must help developing ones avoid “haemorrhaging” people.

In a speech in New York on Tuesday, Cleverly said western powers must help would-be migrants to “stay and thrive at home” in order to stem the international migration crisis.

Answering questions afterwards, he said there could be “large-scale” migration to Europe from Africa, the Indian subcontinent and south-east Asia as they become richer and people who were previously too poor to consider relocation acquire the financial means to do so.

“As these parts of the world become wealthier, there may be an initial but potentially temporary pressure for large-scale human movement to the high-GDP-per-capita countries,” he said.

He argued that western powers should support those countries in ensuring they are “safe and prosperous” to prevent an outflow of people and a “devastating” talent drain.

“If you’re a country with great aspiration for your future, but what you’re synonymous for is just people haemorrhaging from your country, that contradicts your message,” he said.

An expert in migration questioned Cleverly’s plan. Madeleine Sumption, the director of the Migration Observatory, said research suggested development policies were not an effective way to reduce migration.

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“It’s usually not the very poorest people who migrate, because migrating requires resources. So if low-income countries get richer, sometimes that leads to more migration not less.

“Countries have to become pretty wealthy before people stop wanting to emigrate in substantial numbers. If governments knew how to implement development policies that could achieve that, they’d have done it already,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We met the prime minister’s pledge to clear the legacy backlog of asylum cases made before 28 June 2022 and all of those cases have been reviewed. Now we are working through the next cohort of applications.

“We are beginning to implement measures in the Illegal Migration Act following the supreme court’s judgment on Rwanda and alongside the Safety of Rwanda bill going through parliament, delivering against this government’s priority of tackling illegal migration.”


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