Critics say PM's asylum plan will involve an 'amnesty in all but name'

Rishi Sunak’s asylum plan will see ‘thousands of backlog cases approved in a mass box-ticking exercise’ as critics warn the PM’s ambitious proposals involve an ‘amnesty in all but name’

  • Target will require asylum claims to be granted at hugely accelerated speed 
  • Last night Home Office dismissed ‘box-ticking’ accusation as ‘nonsense’
  • It insisted there would still be ‘rigorous checks’ on all claims

Plans to clear the asylum backlog by the end of next year will involve an ‘amnesty in all but name’, it was claimed last night.

A target announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak earlier this week will require asylum claims to be granted at hugely accelerated speed.

Thousands of backlog cases from Afghans and Syrians are likely to be approved in a ‘box-ticking exercise’, sources told the Daily Mail.

Last night the Home Office dismissed the accusation as ‘nonsense’ and said there would still be ‘rigorous checks’ on all claims.

Pictured: Migrants carry a smuggling boat on their shoulders as they prepare to embark on the beach of Gravelines, near Dunkirk, northern France on October 12, 2022, in an attempt to cross the English Channel 

Afghan and Syrian asylum seekers currently see 98 per cent of their claims eventually granted by the Home Office.

Under the new measures unveiled by Mr Sunak, it is thought they will be prioritised in a vastly streamlined process by Home Office caseworkers.

Eritreans also see 98 per cent success rates and are likely to be part of the scheme, it is understood. Other nationalities with high grant rates include Sudanese at 87 per cent and Iranians at 82 per cent.

Pictured: Channel boat incident on December 14

A source said: ‘There will be more grants to those from Syria and Afghanistan, in particular. It amounts to an amnesty in all but name. It runs the risk of becoming a “pull factor” for more migrants from those nationalities to come here, as they will realise cases are prioritised.’

The source added: ‘The cases will be fast-tracked in a mere box-ticking exercise and rubber-stamped to get the cases off the books.’

At the end of September there were 16,844 Iranians and 9,196 Afghans awaiting an initial asylum decision from the Home Office.

Tragedy won’t stop us, migrants vow 

By Ryan Hooper in Dunkirk 

Desperate migrants have vowed to continue crossing the English Channel in small boats despite the latest tragedy at sea which claimed at least four lives.

Residents of the makeshift Grande Synthe camp near Dunkirk in northern France said they were prepared to put their lives at risk.

Many are likely to resort to smuggling rackets where gangs command vast sums to transport dozens of migrants in flimsy inflatables.

Former Afghan special police officer Samiullah Mujahid said it was too dangerous for him to return to his homeland following the Taliban’s return to power. The 27-year-old said: ‘I know the sea is dangerous, the water is cold, but the Taliban is killing people – I cannot go back.’

And a Kurdish Iraqi journalist, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I heard about the people who died. Yes it’s scary, but what else can I do? This is not a life. I arrive here with 50 euro in my pocket and two bags on my back. I have to take my chance.’


There were also 7,011 Eritreans awaiting an initial decision, 6,785 Syrians and 5,149 Sudanese.

It means that among nationalities with high asylum grant rates, there is a pool of nearly 45,000 claims which could be fast-tracked under the new scheme.

Mr Sunak said on Tuesday that he would ‘abolish the backlog of initial asylum decisions by the end of next year’.

The backlog stands at more than 148,000 cases, clogging up the system and making it impossible to respond to surges in the Channel. But after the target was announced, Downing Street confirmed that the Government had committed only to clearing 92,601 ‘legacy’ asylum claims which were lodged before changes to the law in June.

Mr Sunak’s plan was warmly welcomed by many Tory MPs – but there were concerns about how achievable the backlog-clearing exercise would be.

The Daily Mail understands that the radically slimmed-down asylum process will reduce the number of interviews which are conducted by asylum caseworkers from three to one.

It will also cut out a number of administrative steps to make decision-making quicker.

But of the claims that the plans are an amnesty in all but name, a Home Office source said: ‘This is nonsense and has come from a political source with a well-known axe to grind against the Government. We will be carrying out rigorous checks on all asylum seekers and there will be no blanket nationality rules for processing.

‘Caseworkers will interview all claimants and carry out security checks. This is in contrast to Labour’s amnesty when it was last in government, which simply bulk-granted leave to remain for 160,000 people.’

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