Labour has said it would introduce a new fast-tracking process for migrants from “safe” countries in a bid to clear the backlog of asylum claims.
The party cited Home Office figures showing that, of 7,000 Albanians who made asylum claims after travelling to the UK on a small boat in the year to June, less than 1% have had their case determined.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper accused the Government of failing to “get any grip” on the issue, with Labour calling on the Government to immediately introduce fast-tracking for Albania and those from other safe countries “so that unfounded asylum claims can be rejected and returned in a matter of weeks”.
The party points to similar systems in use in Sweden and other European countries, claiming that such an approach would be implemented straight away and avoid the need to pass legislation or lengthy legal delays.
The Government is reportedly reviewing plans to fast-track the removal of asylum seekers from designated “safe” countries, a list that would include Albania.
The last time Labour was in Government it introduced a system – controversial at the time – that fast-tracked asylum claims believed to be manifestly unfounded, with decisions made within seven to 10 days.
Labour has said that a new fast-tracking scheme would allow the Government to focus on asylum seekers who have fled persecution, while also saving taxpayers’ money on hotel accommodation.
Ms Cooper said: “Less than 1% of cases from Albania have been processed.
“That just shows the level of chaos in the system and the complete failure by ministers to get any grip on this.
“They were warned by the UNHCR almost two years ago to introduce fast-track systems and they failed, and the Home Secretary rejected the idea again just two weeks ago.
“Other countries have had these systems in place for years. But all we’ve had from Suella Braverman is more hyped-up rhetoric and promises of yet more legislation, even though the last round of legislation didn’t work.
“Labour would immediately bring in fast-track systems to get a grip, clear the backlog and start targeting the criminal gangs who are driving this.”