The dreadful cost of a broken asylum system | Letter

We have been supporting a “failed” asylum seeker in her struggle against the asylum system. Her case, though exceptionally strong, was never accepted as she had not been willing in her first interview to reveal to a male interpreter details of abuse at the hands of the police.

For the last 20 years, her claims were dismissed on the basis that she lacked credibility. We knew otherwise. She was a trained teacher. If one calculates the costs, taking into account the lost income from her not working (tax, national insurance etc), the cost to NGOs that supported her with food, clothing and accommodation, the cost of tribunals, legal and clerical work, and the associated costs of processing her four appeals, the overall cost to the UK state is of the order of £250,000.

This is the real cost of a broken asylum system. Multiply that by the number of disputed claims and the cost to the UK exchequer dwarfs any propaganda made about the burden of asylum seekers on this country. We have just heard that her fourth appeal has been successful: just preparing the claim and taking the papers to be lodged at Liverpool cost several thousand pounds.

The cost to her? More than half her adult life wasted, living in the shadows, with no money, limited social contact, no self-respect. What a waste. What a welcome. We will be celebrating with a work-related party with all those who supported her. We’ll bring our own bottles.
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