In an attempt to clear the backlog of 450,000 cases of immigrants, who were refused refugee status but not removed from the country, Ministers are planning a controversial back-door amnesty scheme to regularise their stay.
Thousands of over-stayers may be granted “indefinite leave to remain” because of the time they have spent living in the UK.
The revelation last month led to accusations that the Government is operating an amnesty policy for newcomers and continuing Tony Blair’s policy of allowing the UK to be seen as a soft touch for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.
The Home Office confirmed hundreds of thousands of claims would be looked at on a “case-by-case basis”.
Conservative Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis, said: “The Government is effectively offering an amnesty via the back door.”
It has emerged that a 1,000-strong Home Office team has been set up to work through the list of failed asylum seekers to assess whether or not individuals and families should qualify for UK residency rights because such a long time has passed since the rejection of their asylum claims.
Last month, the first 6,000 families on the list were sent questionnaires asking about their current circumstances.
Insiders close to the scheme said those who gave the “right” answers would be granted “leave to remain”. Asylum seekers who cannot be traced by immigration officials are expected to be simply struck off the “legacy” list to ease the backlog.
The government is unfortunately not showing such clemency to the thousands of working migrants who are being forced to leave the UK due to a combination tougher Work Permit rules and changes to the qualifying period for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
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