70,000 asylum applicants should be allowed to stay

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The Independent Online
The 70,000 asylum applicants whose applications or appeals are bogged down in the Home Office administration should be allowed to stay if it would be impractical or inhumane to remove them, the Government is urged in a report today.

The report, drawn up by the Asylum Rights Campaign, the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association and the law reform organisation Justice, says it will be otherwise impossible to create a leaner and more effective system.

The document, which has received a favourable reaction from Mike O'Brien, the Home Office minister, also calls for better initial processing of applications and a new decision-making "culture".

The call for applicants in the backlog to be allowed to stay is controversial, but the report cites precedents in Canada, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In Britain, criteria should include length of time since application, humanitarian considerations and other connections with the UK.