Thursday, 12 February 2009

17,000 Asylum Seekers' Files Lost

Last month it was revealed that the backlog of asylum cases had more than doubled by 8,700 over the year leading up to mid-2008, despite the introduction of the so-called New Asylum Model (Nam), designed to speed up and improve decision making.

The National Audit Office report criticised a second backlog of unresolved asylum applications under the old system, that totalled up to 450,000 in June 2006 but which had been reduced via 'fast-tracking' to 245,000 by last summer.

Now we know why at least some of these applicants are having to wait in bureaucratic limbo for years. It's all down to the usual government inefficiency i.e. 'lost files' which has, according to the Guardian, "plunged the asylum system into chaos."

According to immigration caseworkers, the number of lost files, which include the names, dates of birth, passport numbers and addresses of people applying to stay in Britain as well as details of their children, has escalated because more casework is being done by regional offices, instead of offices in central London. As a result, more paper files are being transported across the country and being lost in transit.

According to a UK Border Agency statement, on 10 November 2008 there were 17,208 principal files officially recorded as lost. And as a direct result the affected applicants have had to begin the process again, while still being unable to work or claim benefits.



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