Woeful statistics show Home Office still fighting backlog

Latest immigration statistics published today (24 August) show that there is still a long way to go to reduce the huge backlog at the Home Office, as justice may be delayed or denied for people claiming asylum in the UK.*

Home Office statistics show:

  • 174,457 people are waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claim. This is in relation to 134,046 cases being dealt with by the Home Office, which is a record high
  • the number of people waiting longer than six months for a decision on their asylum claim has increased, to 139,691 in June 2023 – up from 89,231 in June 2022
  • 71% of applications were recognised as refugees at initial decision
  • 11,396 out of 24,000 decisions have been withdrawn by the Home Office in the first six months of 2023. This is in comparison to the last six months of 2022, where there were 3,366 withdrawal decisions**
  • 53% of decisions were overturned when appealed

Law Society of England and Wales deputy vice president Richard Atkinson said: “A week and a half after the government launched its ‘small boats week’, their own statistics show far too many people fleeing persecution and war are waiting too long for a decision on their request for sanctuary in the UK.

“The figures published are staggering with more than 170,00 people waiting for an initial decision on their asylum claim. The claims being dealt with by the Home Office are also at a record high.

“These figures show that the growing backlog is due to inefficiency and under resourcing of the asylum system.

“There has also been an increase in claims being withdrawn.

“The government updated its guidance to expand the circumstances in which a claim will be considered withdrawn. If a case is withdrawn it means that the Home Office will no longer consider a claim or grant refugee status.

“It is not yet clear whether the increase in withdrawals is a result of the policy change and crucially, whether those affected are aware of these changes and the impact they can have on their claim being withdrawn.

“The best way to bring down the backlog and reduce the cost to the taxpayer is to properly resource and train Home Office caseworkers to ensure sufficient and good quality decision-making.”

Notes to editors

*Read the immigration system statistics, year ending June 2023

 **When a case is ‘withdrawn’, it means the Home Office will no longer consider it and a claimant will not receive a decision (either of refugee status or a refusal which can be appealed).

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