Data released under FOI requests reveals a huge gap between the Home Office’s stated time line for getting people on to Section 4 support and the reality experienced by those in the system.

The UK government’s own figures show that it missed its five-day target for asylum seekers who submit new evidence to get onto emergency support in 95% of cases, with many taking 8 weeks or longer.

Submitting new evidence is a crucial stage for many people whose initial claim for protection has been refused.

Being able to submit fresh evidence is a critical safeguard for people, and a core part of the UK’s responsibilities to comply with International obligations, notably the Refugee Convention itself.

Interviewed on BBC’s Good Morning Scotland and Reporting Scotland today, our Policy Manager Graham O’Neill says: “I’d like to say that I’m shocked, but unfortunately I’m not. The figures really reflect our clients’ experiences for a number of years. We have seen, as the FOI data shows, extensive delays in people getting an appointment to go to Liverpool to put their papers in, and a very long time thereafter waiting for a decision. It shows a broken system.”

Receiving a decision on new evidence without delay can make the difference between being able to stay in your home and being evicted. The asylum system as it stands fails to safeguard vulnerable people from becoming street homeless, and we must continue to push for reform, for a system which protects those who seek safety in the UK, and allows people to make informed choices about their future.

Chris Pettigrew
Author: Chris Pettigrew