More asylum seekers find a home in Hartlepool

More asylum seekers awaiting claim decisions.More asylum seekers awaiting claim decisions.
More asylum seekers awaiting claim decisions.
More asylum seekers are receiving support in Hartlepool while their claims are processed, new figures show.

Figures from the Home Office shows 380 people were claiming asylum assistance in the town as of December – up from 365 a year before.

Of these, 357 were receiving Section 95 support – financial assistance and accommodation because they are not able to work while awaiting a decision.

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Claimants may also be eligible for Section 98 – given to those who appear destitute and are waiting to see if they are eligible for Section 95.

One was receiving Section 98 support in Hartlepool as of December.

The figures come as the UK's backlog in asylum applications topped 160,900, a 60% rise on the same period in 2021.

The Refugee Council chief executive, Enver Solomon, said: "We need an asylum system that isn’t just about control, but is also about compassion and competence.”

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had pledged to clear 92,600 initial asylum claims in the system at the end of June by the end of 2023.

In an effort to speed up the process, thousands of asylum seekers will now be sent 10-page questionnaires to fill out instead of facing an interview, with officials warning their claim could be “withdrawn” if they do not reply with the required information.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Our priority is to stop the small boats coming across the Channel and ensure that people who come here illegally are detained and swiftly removed.

“We are working to speed up asylum processing so that people do not wait months or years in the backlog, at vast expense to the taxpayer."