Tens of Thousands of Iraqi and Iranian Migrants to Have Asylum Claims ‘Fast-Tracked’ by Home Office

In the latest amnesty-style scheme from the Conservative government to cover over its failures to deal with the ever-growing asylum backlog, tens of thousands of Iraqi and Iranian migrants will have their asylum claims “fast-tracked” by the Home Office.

Following a similar scheme launched in February to ‘streamline’ the right for thousands of migrants from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, and Yemen to remain in the country after just filling out a questionaire rather than actually being interviewed by an immigration official, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government is looking to do the same for up to 20,000 alleged asylum seekers from Iraq and Iran in the coming weeks.

Driven in large part by illegal boat migration across the English Channel, the asylum backlog in Britain has soared in recent years, with the current backlog — those applications submitted before June of last year — sitting at 92,601, although thousands more have applied since then. According to The Guardian, at the end of 2022 there were 8,909 Iraqi and 11,698 Iranian cases in the backlog.

In a letter seen by the left-wing paper, the Home Office said that it would be launching “a new phase in the programme to clear the legacy backlog” in which migrants will be grouped by nationality and will “either be called for a substantive interview or be sent a questionnaire and called for a targeted or shorter interview”.

However, the Guardian reported that if a decision can be made upon the questionaire and other evidence provided, the migrants may not need to be interviewed. Those that are required to have an interview are only expected to be grilled for 30 minutes to two hours before a decision on whether they are deserving of asylum status will be determined.

In a change from the scheme in February, those that fail to submit their questionaires properly within 30 days could have their asylum claim rejected outright.

The change comes after just 10 per cent of questionaires were filled out correctly during the February push to clear the backlog, which forced immigration officials to carry out interviews, 95 per cent of which resulted in asylum status being given to those from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

According to a report from The Times, the Home Office believed that pro-mass migration lawyers had advised the migrants to fill out the forms incorrectly in order to trigger an interview.

“We’re aware of lawyers actively briefing migrants to fill in the forms incorrectly so they can make sure there’s a longer process with more interviews and they get paid for that work. It’s a significant number of cases and totally obstructive, which is why we need to stop the boats and make sure we stop people travelling here illegally in the first place,” a government source told the paper last week.

The plan to fast-track tens of thousands more migrants into the country comes despite the proffessed desire to impose deterents to reduce the number of illegal migrants crossing the Enlgish Channel, which saw a record 45,000 cross last year, alone.

While this has been a consistent issue doggingt the administrations of Rishi Sunak and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, it might be legal immigration that truly destroys the trust of the Conservative voting base, with the government reportedly expecting that legal net migration to the UK could top one million this year.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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