The Bishop of Southwark received the following written answer on 1st December 2022:
The Lord Bishop of Southwark asked His Majesty’s Government, following the publication of figures by the Refugee Council on 14 October, how many applications for asylum have not had an initial decision reached for more than five years; and what factors have led to delays of that length.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Con): The Home Office is unable to state how many applications for asylum have not had an initial decision reached for more than five years because the Home Office does not publish this information.
However, the Home Office does publish data on the number asylum applications awaiting an initial decision by duration, for main applicants only. This data can be found at Asy_04 of the published Immigration Statistics: List of tables – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The Home Office also publish data on the percentage of asylum applications processed within 6 months of the date of claim. Data showing the number of asylum claims received from 2014 – 2022 that were processed within 6 months can be found at Asy_01 of the Asylum Transparency Data: Migration transparency data – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The asylum system has been under mounting pressure for several years. Increased and sustained intake and a growing number of people awaiting a decision has led to significant delays in concluding asylum claims.
However, there are many factors that can delay and contribute to the length of time to process asylum claims; some applications have complex needs, safeguarding issues, are extremely vulnerable or where they have had a modern slavery claim attached to their claim. We therefore take full consideration of these facts when prioritising and progressing outstanding asylum claims and that can lead to longer waiting times for some.