The Failed Asylum Cases Stuck In The System


Adel Bouhelal is stuck in the asylum system.

Britain has refused his asylum application but even after a conviction for assault is unable to send him home.

He came to the UK in 2000 on a fake passport. He spent a number of years living “underground” illegally after his initial application failed, before re-surfacing in 2014.

After so long away, Algeria – his country of birth – won”t acknowledge the 39-year-old and with an expired passport and no ID papers it now seems impossible to deport him.

He said: “The Algerian government, they don”t want us – not only me. You know why? Because the President has said: “Don”t send me the people that went to prison already”. You know what I mean. Keep them there (in Britain) where they are.”

I ask Adel, if the Algerian government is saying it doesn”t want him, why does he thinks the British government wants him? He replies: “I don”t know to be honest, that”s a tricky question.”

After 16 years in the UK, Adel says he has a life here now – and a 12-year-old daughter – another reason deportation is complex.

Adel says: “The European human rights, that”s the only thing that”s saving us. It”s like a shield so they (the Home Office) can”t get through. That”s the only reason why they can”t deport us.”

Immigration lawyer Fozia Iqbal says the process of removing failed asylum seekers isn”t always straightforward.

She said: “If they”re actually removing people they have to follow channels to make sure the flights and airlines are happy.

They have to follow channels to make sure the receiving country is happy and have to make sure they’re not affecting any diplomatic ties there which makes it easier to keep on appealing.”

But one human rights barrister, who didn”t want to be identified, told Sky News he believes the initial decision-making process by the Home Office is flawed, leaving the door open for appeals to drag on.

He said: “They tend to mis-apply the law and, overall, their legal knowledge I would say is poor, and I would say only about 2% of officials understand the proper operation and the legality of the removal process.

“It”s a waste of taxpayers” money at one level and at another it causes a lot of misery to asylum seekers and hardship leading to wasted appeals and judicial review processes.”

In response, a Home Office spokesperson said: “All asylum caseworkers undergo comprehensive training and monitoring and every decision they take is subject to a rigorous three-stage quality assessment process.

“Training includes an intensive foundation training package, developed in conjunction with UNHCR and other partners, and support by an experienced mentor for six months.

“The efficiency and effectiveness of asylum casework was recently inspected by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration.

“His report noted the professionalism, dedication and commitment to fairness of asylum casework staff and welcomed the Customer Service Excellence Accreditation across the entire asylum operation.”