Families still await Home Office news

Thousands of asylum seeker families who could be eligible for a
government scheme granting indefinite leave to remain in the UK are
still awaiting a decision more than a month after the programme’s
planned finish date.

The Home Office announced last October that up to 15,000 families
who sought asylum in the UK more than three years ago would be
considered for permission to live and work in the UK.

However, a spokesperson for the Local Government Association said
that 6,000 families were yet to be contacted.

Last December, Mike Canham, a consultant working for the Home
Office on the project, said it was the “hope and expectation” of
Beverley Hughes, then a Home Office minister, that the project
would be completed last month.

A Home Office spokesperson denied there ever was a completion date
and that the government had expected the bulk of cases to be dealt
with by May 2004. Hughes resigned last month.

However, in response to a parliamentary question last week
immigration minister Des Browne said he now expected “the bulk of
the cases” eligible for the scheme to be processed by July.

The LGA spokesperson said that 8,888 families had received a
questionnaire and of those 5-6,000 had been granted indefinite
leave to remain.

She said 2,000 of the families had not yet returned their
questionnaires and were being chased.

She added that work was still being carried out to notify the 6,000
families not yet contacted as quickly as possible.

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