To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the oral statement by made by the Prime Minister on 13 December 2022, Official Report, columns 885-88 on Illegal Immigration, whether it is her Department's intention to have 2,400 asylum decision makers; and how many of the new decisions makers her Department plans to train will make decisions on children's asylum applications.
11 January 2023
e Home Office takes our duty of care towards children and young people extremely seriously, and we prioritise applications from children and young people.
The Home Office does not publish the data requested. However we are able to provide data on the number of initial decisions on asylum applications from unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), which can be found in the latest Immigration statistics, year ending September 2022: List of tables - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
UASC generally enter the care system to be accommodated and supported by a local authority as looked after children. The Home Office budget provides significant support to local authorities in this area in addition to existing local Government funding. The latest published statistics from the Department for Education, for the year ending 31 March 2022, show there were 5,540 UASC being cared for in England alone, an increase of 34% from the previous reporting year. This does not include the high intake seen this summer.
The Home Office has a comprehensive training programme and mentoring framework in place for all asylum decision makers. Decision makers who specifically deal with children’s claims complete an additional training on Keeping Children Safe and have an additional period of mentoring.
Our aim is for Asylum Casework to have 2,500 caseworkers by August 2023, with around 10% dedicated to children's casework and we have recruitment plans in place to ensure we reach those numbers.
The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 (NABA) came into force on 28 June 2022. In accordance with NABA, all new asylum claims made on or after 28 June 2022 will be considered and processed under the new legislation, whilst existing claims will be worked through under previous legislation and asylum policies.
The Asylum Casework team are working to reintroduce service standards and are aligning with changes being introduced through the NABA. Our intention to reintroduce service standards aligns with the recommendation from the recent Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s (ICIBI) published report - An inspection of asylum casework (November 2021). The re-induction will also include children’s asylum claims.