This morning I asked the Leader of the House in Business Questions why there are such long waiting times for people appealing asylum decisions to get a court hearing date.
The current minimum timescale for getting a court date is 48 weeks, and then when dates are set they are often months into the future. This is leaving asylum seekers in limbo, unable to contribute to the UK economy - which many are willing and able to do.
I asked the Leader of the House for a debate on this issue, to push the government to act.
Unfortunately the Minister - apparently unfamiliar with this issue affecting thousands of people - answered an entirely different question.
I don't feel that these timescales are acceptable and I'll continue to push the government to make improvements to the length of time cases take to go through Home Office and Court procedures.
You can watch the full exchange here:
Jo Stevens MP
It’s currently taking a minimum of 48 weeks for people appealing Home Office decisions to deny them asylum status, for their appeal to be heard. And then when they get a date it’s many months ahead. This is completely unacceptable, and during that time they can’t work and they can’t contribute to the UK economy as many of them are capable of doing and wish to do.
Can we have a debate in government time as soon as we return from recess to discuss this serious issue?
Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Leader of the House of Commons
Well the honourable lady raises a very important point and, again, as all honourable members will know we’re often asked to take up cases on behalf of constituents and it’s right that we should do so, and I think we do then have some success in being able to improve the speed.
What I can say to her is that since the end of 2014 we have consistently met our ambition of deciding 98% of straightforward cases within six months. So if she’s seeing very bad examples then of course she should raise those directly with the Home Office.