Why Is The Decision of My Asylum Claim Application Taking So Long?
While not formally confirmed by the Home Office, there are many anecdotal claims amongst asylum applicants of delays in claims processing, causing an asylum backlog.
Asylum applicants are able to remain in the UK during the processing of their initial claim and any asylum appeals, but it helps to understand what kind of time frame can be expected. With the consequences of a denied asylum claim often being devastating, knowing when a decision is likely to be made can help de-stress the process for applicants.
The official Home Office guidance on asylum claims is that it takes on average six months to process before a decision is received, with more complex cases taking longer.
However, official statistics show that of all asylum claims logged by those arriving by boat in 2021, only 4% were processed within a year – leaving 96% at least twice over the standard processing time.
Further information requested
In less straightforward cases, an asylum decision may be delayed because additional information, evidence or further details of the persecution experienced by the applicant is requested.
Such requests are usually accompanied by a deadline for their submission, with the asylum process being temporarily halted until the relevant information is received. It is critical that stated deadlines are met, and if this may prove tricky that legal advice is sought. Newcastle Lawyers can help with such information gathering exercises. Contact us for more info on 0191 303 8965.
The Refugee Council published a report in summer 2021 that stated the initial decision on an asylum claim was then usually between one and three years rather than six months.
The investigation behind such statistics showed that the Home Office were not able to keep up with the number of asylum claims being processed. A further report in 2022 noted ‘inefficient decision-making’ and ‘internal failings’ by the Home Office adding to delays and the overall asylum backlog of cases.
The Home Office’s own investigations show that the number of asylum seekers waiting over six months for a decision has increased tenfold since 2016 and over doubled since 2020.
Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic caused further delays as asylum caseworkers and Home Office staff were stretched across work. However, this has resulted in some positive outcomes – such as the hiring of more staff and the completion of most interviews on video call (although a substantive asylum interview is still likely to take place in-person).
Where an asylum application is denied and later sent to a judicial review, a further delay to an asylum decision can be expected. From the point of submission an asylum decision is likely to take between 2-6 months, with a renewal hearing taking a little longer and a full judicial review up to 8 months on average.
Can Asylum Seekers Work If Their Claim Is Delayed?
The asylum system does not permit asylum seekers to work while their claim is being processed, but in the event of delay, this can make their living situation difficult as they have no right to income nor state benefits.
Where an asylum decision has been delayed enough for the asylum seeker to be waiting over 12 months (in the case of the initial decision and not an appeal), and the delay is considered to not be the fault of the applicant, they may request permission to work. With the Home Office asylum backlog now causing so many claims to be delayed past this point, such permissions are often granted.
The Home Office publishes an occupational shortage list and in most cases, asylum seekers must then seek employment that fits a role on this list. However, if the asylum seeker has specialist skills they may be granted permission by the Home Office to work in a job not present on this list.
If you’ve been waiting more than 12 months for the asylum decision making process and would like to explore the permission to work process, call Newcastle Lawyers on 0191 303 8965 to discuss your options.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Speed Up Asylum Claim Processing?
Where an applicant is experiencing a delay in receiving an asylum decision, they should spend the time preparing for the next stage in the process wherever appropriate, particularly if waiting for a substantive interview.
There are a few steps that asylum seekers can take to speed up the asylum process. While none of these avenues are guaranteed, they do anecdotally reduce asylum delays and can even help receive a decision faster than the average waiting time.
These approaches include:
- Seeking the help of a local Member of Parliament (MP), who may be able to contact the Home Secretary and/or other Home Office officials for asylum support
- The hiring of a specialist asylum lawyer who may be able to expedite the processes of document compilation and be able to contact the relevant asylum decision maker
- Letting the Home Office caseworker know that the applicant is willing to attend an interview at short notice and that they will therefore happily fill in any cancellation slots for such sessions.
Newcastle Lawyers will do all they can to smooth the asylum process. Give our team a call on 0191 303 8965 to learn how your claim may be hastened.
Asylum seekers often find the asylum decision making process stressful and lengthy, and it can certainly be difficult to navigate without specialist legal support. Newcastle Lawyers are the UK’s leading immigration legal team, with over 5,000 asylum applications successful so far!
We strongly suggest seeking legal advice if you find the asylum backlog causes delays to your application. With expertise spanning even extremely complex cases and contacts in the Home Office and the Refugee Council, the Newcastle Lawyers team can help guide you through the application and asylum appeals process. Our team are contactable for a no-obligation, free chat on 0191 303 8965 to talk through your individual circumstances.
Last modified on October 20th, 2023 at 1:09 pm
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There is currently an asylum backlog causing delays to the time period in which an asylum decision is received from the Home Office. There is no stated average waiting time currently made public, but anecdotally asylum seekers are rarely reporting that the asylum decision making process takes less than a year. The UK Government has put in place plans to clear all asylum claims made prior to July 2022 by the end of 2023.
The majority of asylum interviews now take place by video call, but there are instances in which asylum seekers may be required to attend an in-person session.
Permission to work must be applied for by asylum seekers and is not an automatic right. This can only be done after 12 months has passed after the initial asylum claim has been filed.