|Britain's asylum applicant backlog soars past 32,000, panel blames appalling housing
Britain is struggling with a backlog of 32,600 applications from asylum seekers and some have been waiting up to 16 years, a panel of lawmakers has found.
Media reports in London, citing findings by a panel of lawmakers, said the asylum applicants are also held in “appalling conditions.''
A backlog of 32,600 asylum cases that should have been resolved in 2011 are yet to be concluded, the Home Affairs select committee reported, the Guardian said.
The number of applicants waiting for an initial decision after six months grew by 63 percent last year. Some applicants had been waiting up to 16 years.
In 2012, there were 21,955 applications for asylum in the UK. Of those, 18,423 had received an initial decision and 12,632 had been concluded by 19 September this year.
This means that 3,523 people who applied for asylum in 2012 have yet to receive an initial decision, the paper reported.
Panel chairman Keith Vaz said the “system is overburdened and under severe pressure.''
A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need it. We are committed to concluding all cases as quickly as possible, but asylum cases are often complex and require full and thorough consideration.
“We have robust mechanisms in place to monitor standards of housing provided to asylum seekers.
“ollowing the awarding of Compass contracts, the Home Office and its providers carried out an inspection of accommodation standards and where necessary took action to ensure they met the necessary standards.
“Overall the performance of all three providers has shown steady improvement since January and G4S and Serco have made significant investment in their property portfolio. We will continue to monitor performance to ensure that standards are met."