UK questionnaire plan will add ‘more injustice’ to asylum process

UK questionnaire plan will add 'more injustice' to asylum process

UK government plans to address the asylum claim backlog by asking around 12,000 applicants to complete a new questionnaire risks introducing “more injustice” into the asylum seeker, human rights campaigners have warned.

According to reports, the Home Office is to begin sending an 11-page questionnaire to around 12,000 people from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Syria and Yemen which must be completed and submitted in English within 20 days.

The questionnaire is intended to remove the need for an official interview in order to speed up claims.

There were 161,919 people waiting for an initial asylum decision at the end of 2022, of whom 109,641 had been waiting for more than six months — a 77 per cent year-on-year increase.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s refugee and migrant rights director, said: “For more than two years we’ve been sounding the alarm that the asylum applications backlog was spiralling out of control, and the latest figures once again show the disastrous impact of government policies on asylum — particularly a decision taken in December 2020 to delay or refuse to process thousands of people’s claims.

“At best, the Home Office’s new questionnaire scheme is too little, too late — and at worst it could make a situation of dire backlogs and rising costs even worse. A rushed measure to address the claims of 12,000 people out of a backlog of more than 160,000 is not going to solve this mess.

“Introducing a questionnaire with the threat that failure to complete and return it in time may lead to a refusal is dangerous and foolish. Refusing asylum to people who have good claims by making unreasonable bureaucratic demands is a recipe for more injustice in the asylum system.

“Everyone seeking asylum in the UK should have their claim fairly and efficiently examined as soon as possible in a consistent process, although many people will not require an extended review of their case as it should quickly be obvious that they are refugees.

“The Home Secretary’s recent comments on protests outside hotels, on Channel crossings and on the shameful Rwanda deal all suggest that she is fundamentally unwilling and incapable of fixing the asylum system which she and others before her have degraded to the point of destruction.

“Suella Braverman’s ultimate goal appears to be to avoid her responsibilities rather than playing her part in managing a properly efficient, humane system for dealing with people who’ve fled war and persecution.”

Share icon
Share this article: