The Independent ran a story last week about the length of time that people who appeal Home Office immigration decisions have to wait. Average waiting times, data shows, have increased dramatically – by 45% – over the last year.
In 2016, an appeal took on average 31 weeks. The process now takes a year (52 weeks).
This rise in delays is explained, according to Minister of Justice Lucy Frazer, by a significant effort to catch up with backlog cases:
“The average clearance time, which is measured from receipt of an appeal to its conclusion, went up between 2015-16 and 2016-17 because of the Tribunal significantly reducing its outstanding caseload and clearing older cases during that period. Outstanding caseload has now reduced from 64,800 in June 2016 to 35,100 at the end of December 2017.”
Yet the number of appeals has also dropped over recent years, from 25,000 in 2014 to 7,000 last year.
As the Independent notes, 50% of appeals end up reversing Home Office refusals. Increased waiting time for appeals means that thousands of people who have a right to be in the UK – whether they are trying to join their family in the UK or to seek asylum – must put their lives on hold for a year.