Over 56,000 asylum seekers have been waiting longer than six months, according to new figures.

The backlog of asylum seekers waiting longer than six months for an initial decision on their claim is at a record high, according to new figures published today. Some 56,520 people had been waiting more than six months as of 30th September 2021, out of the 87,995 asylum seekers in total still waiting for an initial decision.

In September, the Home Office’s top civil servant admitted that it now takes “over a year” on average to process an asylum application.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has come under increasing pressure following an rapid increase in the number of people travelling from France to the UK in small boats – often to claim asylum. Dozens of people were killed when their dinghy capsized in the English Channel yesterday. Government sources have this rejected the need for more ‘safe routes’ to the UK, according to Politico.

The asylum applications backlog has been growing over recent years. Before the pandemic, the share of asylum applications that received an initial decision within six months had fallen from 87% in 2014 to just 20% in 2019.

The Home Office scrapped its target of processing asylum applications within six months in 2019.