An investigation into the spending of the previous Labour government has revealed that the party was spending around £2m every day on a failing asylum control system. A surge in applications meant the government struggled to deal with them all and spent over £10bn trying to control the problem. Nearly 700,000 decisions on asylum seekers were made under the government and only 25% of them were removed from the country.
Even when the claim for asylum was deemed unsubstantial many were not removed and continue to live in the UK illegally. Damien Green is the current immigration minister and has said Labour has severely damaged the system controlling people crossing the UK’s borders.
During the Labour government nearly a quarter of a million cases of asylum were granted and these people were given humanitarian assistance. This left nearly half a million who were rejected. However, only around a third of those rejected were actually deported. This gives a figure of around a quarter million people who are somewhere in the UK illegally.
The UK has developed a reputation for having a soft approach to illegal immigration. Compared with France, Britain allowed 9% more people to stay. Under the Labour government the number of people seeking asylum nearly tripled to a peak of 85,000.
Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch, described the asylum system as, “a hugely expensive disaster. We are serious about protecting asylum seekers with a genuine need for assistance. This means we have to get rid of bogus claimants efficiently. We need a faster and tougher system, the longer people stay illegally the more likely they can claim a right to stay because they have family here.”
The report on these costs has been issued by the Home Office who admit that it is difficult to know what happened on a case by case basis because of the confusion of the system. Just 5 years back, ministers discovered that 400,000 cases remained unresolved, since that time several have been dealt with but some remain.
“The amount of money spent on the previous system was ridiculous. It was ineffective and a complete waste of tax payers money. We are now focused on reducing the cost of immigration control. Just this year we have reduced the cost by over £100m. We expect it to fall significantly next year as well. We are also processing cases at a much faster rate.”