Revealed: Asylum seekers 'living in hell' as number waiting more than three years for decision quadrupled

Tens of thousands of people waited more than a year for the full scale of the asylum deposits to be revealed

The number of migrants waiting more than three years to find out if they have been granted asylum in Britain has more than quadrupled in 18 months as the immigration savings crisis deepens and thousands are left in uncertainty.

The new figures show that there has been a huge spike in asylum seekers waiting years for an early decision on their claims.

It comes as interior minister Suella Braverman is expected to announce a "ten-point migration plan" with GĂ©rald Darmanin, her French counterpart.

On Sunday it was confirmed more than 40,000 migrants had crossed the Strait this year, already thousands more than for the whole of 2021.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick insisted that a move towards more basic accommodation was needed to remove the "pull factor" for those heading to the UK by small boat.

In an article for The Sunday Telegraph, Jenrick said the "chronic shortage of acceptable accommodation" for large numbers of migrants had forced governments to buy expensive and often inappropriate hotels, leaving taxpayers with "unacceptable" costs.

The newspaper reported ministers were considering larger locations to accommodate the migrants, including student accommodation, holiday parks and cruise ships.

As of December 2020 there were 2,284 adults and children who had been waiting for a decision for more than three years. In June 2022 there were 10,276 – a 450 percent increase, figures obtained by the charity Refugee Council show.

It was revealed at the Home Affairs Committee last month that only 4 percent of claims for 2021 ship arrivals had been processed.

That means tens of thousands of people are in limbo in hotel accommodations, awaiting a decision on their claims. In addition, 33,746 adults have waited more than a year, according to the latest figures.

Another 570 adults have waited more than five years for a decision, FOI data from the Home Office shows, while 155 people who were under 18 when they first applied for asylum were also in this position.

Abu*, who is from Sudan and has been housed in a hotel in Yorkshire for almost a year, said he was "living in hell" awaiting news of his asylum application.

Abu, who fled Sudan after the 2021 coup, said he felt depressed and angry. “You feel useless. I'm starting to wonder if I'm a useful person? If I get refugee status, will they accept us, or will it continue like this?”

He said he felt like the government was waiting for him to make a mistake, “doing something wrong, because they will try to get you out of this country.

“The most important thing when you become a refugee is reintegration, integrating into the community, feeling like a normal life, not like being in detention. Here I am restricted,” he said. Abu had lived in England previously when his wife was studying at university and he used to work here in the hospitality sector.

Now, on his return, he finds himself unable to work.

“I have no credit, I can't charge my cell phone. I do not have enough money. When I go outside, if I go to a new place, I won't be able to come back,” he said.

As of June this year, there were 122,206 people awaiting a preliminary decision on their asylum claims. This is a fourfold increase in five years, up from 29,522 in December 2017.

The government spends nearly £7 million a day housing asylum seekers in hotels.

Alice Giuliato, who supports asylum seekers in east London hotel accommodation with the charity Ramfel, said the long periods of time adults and families spent in hotels had an impact on their physical and mental health.

“Family reported the same problem. Number one is food, which they say is inedible. As a result, children do not want to eat and are malnourished. Doctors have told us that children lose weight because they don't want to eat those foods.

“Cleanliness is also a big issue. One person sent us a video of a mouse in their bedroom. Some families are also separated, with half the family in one hotel and the other half in another,” he said.

“People experience mental health problems as a result of being stuck in hotels for a very long time. Also, asylum seekers only receive £8 a week after they get their share of 95, so they can't move freely."

Durga Sivasatthiseelan, a general practitioner who works for the charity Doctors of the World, said asylum seekers were given very limited information to help them when they arrived at the hotel.

"Some people are in a mental health crisis by the time I see them," he said. "Certainly the nature of the conditions at most of the sites only worsened their mental health."

"Length of stay has really increased," he added. “We are now supporting people who have been in this kind of accommodation for over a year now, up to two years. Sites are not made for that, they are meant for a maximum of 12 weeks.”

Some hotel rooms have no windows and no kitchen for people to make their own food, he said.

Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said that "immediate action must be taken to address the huge pile of men, women and children trapped in limbo".

“These people came to the UK seeking safety, but they were cursed for years of worry and uncertainty, with a heavy toll on their mental health, instead of being able to take root in their new community and rebuild their lives,” he said. .

Monday's announcement by Braverman is expected to include closer cooperation with French officials and increased patrols.

A Home Office spokesman said the department was doing "all we can to address this issue.

“We have increased the number of social workers by 80 per cent to over 1,000 and a successful pilot scheme has seen the average number of asylum claims processed by social workers double, which is now rolling out across the country.” This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS. 

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