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MPs express fears over border controls.

BRITAIN is at risk of harbouring war criminals and terrorists due to poor decisions made by border officials, an influential group of MPs warned.

In a damning report on asylum, the Home Affairs Select Committee said it was concerned by the quality of decision-making as 30% of appeals against initial decisions were allowed in 2012.

A backlog of 32,600 asylum cases that should have been resolved in 2011 are yet to be concluded, the Committee discovered, while the number of applicants still waiting for an initial decision after six months rose by 63% last year. Some applicants have been waiting up to 16 years.

They also raised concerns about the "appalling" housing conditions faced by asylum-seekers, as well as the pressure placed on gay applicants to prove their sexuality.

In 2012, there were 21,955 applications for asylum in the UK. As of September 19 this year, of those 21,955 cases, 18,423 have received an initial decision and 12,632 have been concluded.

This means that 3,523 people who applied for asylum in 2012 have yet to receive an initial decision.

Committee chair Keith Vaz said: "The asylum system is overburdened and under severe pressure.

"The backlog of asylum cases that should have been cleared by 2011 has reached 32,600, with some people waiting up to 16 years for a decision.

"The system needs to work, otherwise applicants are trapped in a cycle of helplessness and vulnerability."

The Committee's report said it was concerned about decisions to grant asylum to people "who later emerge to be involved with terrorist activity".
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 11, 2013
Words:265
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