David Davis explains what he would do to solve the migrant crisis
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Leading Brexiteer Richard Tice has hit out at the “utter incompetence” of the Home Office, after it was revealed that the UK has a record backlog of asylum seekers. Besides criticising the Home Office, the Reform UK leader repeated his call for a new department to be set up to deal with the crisis and referenced the recent unrest outside a hotel in Knowsley, Merseyside, where asylum-seekers were being housed.
He told Express.co.uk: “Utter incompetence at the Home Office has led to this appalling situation, where the fury of concerned communities is spilling out onto our streets.
The former MEP suggested a specialist government department be set up to combat the escalating migrant crisis and asylum backlog, which has now climbed over 160,000 – the highest figure since comparable records began.
“The Home Office is not fit for purpose and a new Department of Immigration is urgently needed staffed by competent believers in controlling our borders”, he said.
This comes as it emerged the most common nationality of asylum seekers in the backlog is Albanian.
In 2022, there were 14,223 applications made by Albanian nationals, nearly 10,000 of which were lodged by people that had crossed the English Channel by boat.
Of those 14,000 Albanian asylum seekers, nearly 12,000 were adult males, Home Office figures show.
Behind Albanians, Afghans were the second most common nationality making asylum applications.
In 2022, slightly over 10,000 Afghans applied for asylum in the UK, six times higher than the 2019 level of 1,573. This was “likely due to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan” according to the Home Office.
The 160,000 strong backlog is a 60 per cent jump on the figure taken in 2021, which totalled 100,564.
The Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper took aim at the Prime Minister over the new record, telling Express.co.uk: “Despite all Rishi Sunak’s grand promises, fewer than 1% of last year’s small boat cases have been decided. These are truly shameful levels of incompetence from a government that has completely lost any grip.
“After 13 years of failure, today’s figures underline the shocking mess the Conservatives have made of the asylum system. The Home Office is still taking a third fewer decisions each year than it was seven years ago and they have let the backlog rise by another 60% to a record breaking high of 160,000 with the taxpayer fronting the cost through spending on hotels.
“Labour has a five point plan to take more decisions, secure new agreements with Europe, and crack down on the criminal gangs. Rishi Sunak needs to stop posturing and start getting the basics right.”
In response to Mr Tice’s suggestion that a new “Department of Immigration” be set up to handle the asylum backlog and migrant crisis, a Home Office spokesperson said: “Our priority is to stop the boats and ensure that people who come here illegally are detained and swiftly removed.
“We are working to speed up asylum processing so that people do not wait months or years in the backlog, at vast expense to the taxpayer, and to remove everyone who doesn’t have a legitimate reason to be here.
“To ensure our processes remain robust and all claims are properly considered, we have recruited hundreds of caseworkers to crack through cases.
“As part of these efforts to speed up the asylum process for high-grant nationalities, 12,000 asylum seekers who have made legacy asylum claims will be asked to provide details in a new Home Office questionnaire to help determine their case. If they do not reply, their asylum claim could be withdrawn.”
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