People Granted Asylum: Government Support

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:00 am on 26 March 2024.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government) 11:00, 26 March 2024

Yes. I will refer to that later, but we know that the large majority of those who present themselves and seek asylum in this country, however they arrive, whether through regular or irregular means, turn out to be genuine refugees. We seem to be failing them and ourselves as a society if we do not commit to helping them to integrate, even before they receive official status.

Over the past year, we have seen an increase in the number of decisions on asylum applications because of the Prime Minister’s focus on trying to clear the backlog of legacy cases. I welcome that, because people should not be waiting for years for a decision on their asylum case. Accurate and timely decision making should be a hallmark of an effective asylum system. Indeed, it would be the best deterrent against those who are not genuine refugees seeking asylum here. Yet, of course, the backlog is still huge. In excess of 100,000 people are waiting in limbo, which is unfair on them and hugely expensive for the taxpayer.

We should be clear that the increase in newly recognised refugees this year is not because of an increase in people arriving by small boats or any other means, but because the Government are playing catch-up, having inexcusably allowed that backlog of human misery to build up in the first place. With more people being granted refugee status, there has been significantly more pressure on the part of the system dealing with those who move on from asylum support to refugee status, in what is often referred to as the “move-on period”.