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More than half of people seeking protection wait longer than six months for asylum decision

By November 30, 2017Press release
A man sits on a window sill staring out at the street

Refugee Action responds to today’s ONS immigration stats for the period July to September 2017.

  • In the year ending September 2017, 26,617 applications were made for asylum in Britain – down 21% on the previous year.
  • Despite the numbers of applications falling, more people are waiting longer for a decision on their claim, with 10,552 people waiting more than the Government’s target of six months, up 27% on the same period last year.
  • Nearly half (49%) of people waiting for a decision on their asylum claim are waiting for more than six months.

Stephen Hale, chief executive of Refugee Action, says:

“These figures are appalling evidence of the Home Office’s failure to make prompt and fair decisions.

“Incredibly, despite a fall in applications, half of people are now waiting longer than the Government’s six-month target for a decision on their asylum claim. During this time, people are left unable to work or integrate, struggling to survive on just £5.28 a day.

“Poor decision-making and delays are leaving families facing years of uncertainty, taking a tremendous toll on the wellbeing of people who have fled conflict and persecution. This has to change, and fast.”

Refugee Action’s analysis shows: 

  • A total of 6,348 refugees have been resettled in Britain over the past year.
  • This includes 4,980 refugees welcomed through the Government’s Syrian resettlement programme, bringing the total arriving through the scheme to 9,394.
  • The total includes 412 welcomed through the vulnerable children’s resettlement scheme.

Mr Hale adds: “It’s positive news that the Government is on track to meet its target of welcoming 20,000 refugees affected by the Syrian conflict to Britain by 2020.

“But all refugees in Britain should have the same opportunity to rebuild their lives – starting with access to a fair and effective asylum system.”


For more information and interviews contact the Refugee Action press office on 07771748159 or email