12 Nov 2019

The Children's Society responds to analysis by The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford that shows three quarters of asylum seekers in the UK had to wait for more than six months for an initial decision from the Home Office.

Sam Royston, Director of Policy and Research at the Children’s Society said: “Sadly the long waiting times are not a surprise, the problem is the same for young people, some of whom have had to wait two years for a decision.

We are hugely concerned about the detrimental effect long waiting times can have a on a young asylum seekers mental health and well-being. Through our frontline services we hear again and again about how waiting increases levels of stress and anxiety. Young people feel powerless and unable to influence the outcomes of a decision that will affect the rest of their lives. They are left in a state of limbo, unable to plan for their futures. 

However, waiting times are not the only concern, the application process is also incredibly distressing, as refugees are forced to recount again and again some of the most traumatic experiences of their lives. 

The combination of the re- traumatising application process and the potential long waiting time is causing asylum seekers to reach crisis point. That is why we would urge the Home Office to look at the processes for unaccompanied young people and identify what actions to take to ensure better outcomes.”

Media enquiries   

For more information, please call The Children’s Society’s Media team on 020 7841 4422 or email media@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.