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Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) mean and (b) median time taken to process an application for asylum was in December 2009. (322331)

The public service agreement (PSA) delivery agreement 3, indicator 2 refers to the reduction in the time to conclusion of asylum application. The measure is to ensure a target percentage of cases should be resolved within six months.

The method of reporting against the target is based on the performance of the specific monthly cohort of cases reaching six months. Hence all reporting is done against a six months timeframe. A cohort is specified as those new applications received between 1 and 31 of each month.

The conclusion measurement requires applications to be granted asylum or some form of leave to remain in the UK, allowed at appeal or removed within 182 days (six months) to be counted as concluded.

Performance against the targets has been published in National Statistics as follows:

61 per cent. of new applications received in June 2009 were concluded, i.e. to grant asylum or some other form of leave to remain or to remove from the UK, in six months by the end of December 2009.

Published information is not available in relation to conclusion of applications in timescales other than six months.

In 1997, the average time for an initial decision was 22 months. Records are not kept for the average time for conclusion for this time.