Fast-track system unfair, finds charity

Asylum seekers detained in order for their claims to be fast-tracked are being set up to fail as the system works too quickly to give them a fair chance, according to research out last week.

The research, by charity Bail for Immigration Detainees, also found that many of the asylum seekers on the programme at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre were left without legal representation at their appeals against decisions, due to the speed of the process.

The study presents evidence from a week of Harmondsworth fast-track appeals heard in March 2006 and contains evidence obtained by BID using the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Figures obtained by BID show that only 1 per cent of 330 fast-track claimants received a positive initial decision in the first three months of 2006, compared with 22 per cent of asylum seekers not on the scheme in the same period.

They also illustrate that most detainees go on to appeal but the majority are refused with only seven of the 290 appeals heard being successful.

The charity’s report calls for the end to the detained fast-track system, and for safeguards to be put in place urgently.

A Home Office spokesperson said that the fast-track process had been challenged by judicial review and was found to be fair and lawful and that all asylum seekers had access to a duty solicitor.

Working Against the Clock: Inadequacy and Injustice in the Fast Track System 

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