Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Home Office accounts show additional £3 billion unbudgeted asylum expenditure


Older content is locked

A great deal of time and effort goes into producing the information on Free Movement, become a member of Free Movement to get unlimited access to all articles, and much, much more


By becoming a member of Free Movement, you not only support the hard-work that goes into maintaining the website, but get access to premium features;

  • Single login for personal use
  • FREE downloads of Free Movement ebooks
  • Access to all Free Movement blog content
  • Access to all our online training materials
  • Access to our busy forums
  • Downloadable CPD certificates

The Home Office annual report for 2022 has belatedly been published. It shows an additional £3 billion had to be allocated to pay for unexpected asylum system expenditure. An extra £1.6 billion had to be allocated because of “pressures within the asylum system” — the asylum backlog, basically — and on top of that an extra £0.7 billion was allocated “to implement the measures set out by the former Prime Minister on 14 April 2022 to fix the UK’s asylum system”. A further £0.7 billion was needed to fund the Afghan resettlement schemes, which were unanticipated.

The asylum backlog was self-inflicted by the government. Incompetence comes with a cost.

The report also shows that prosecutions and convictions of modern slavers fell in 2022 compare the previous year. This coincides with the victim-blaming measures introduced in the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, which led to a massive increase in negative assessments of trafficking claims.

The report is strangely silent on whether customer service standards were met. They weren’t, that’s why. It claims that “The Home Office has delivered the Nationality and Borders Act 2022.” In fact, the Home Office has abandoned the vast majority of that legislation.

This also caught my attention:

Whilst there were an increased number of immigration enforcement visits and requests for support from the police in 2022, there has been a 32% decrease of recorded detections in the UK figures in comparison to 2021.

It’s as if pointless enforcement visits are being conducted in order to meet Sunak’s headline pledge to double them. This looks like the opposite of intelligence-led enforcement. That, or the intelligence is dud, anyway.

The report admits that resettlement schemes have been pared back (“balanced”) because of the new Afghan schemes, declining by 22% compared to the previous year.

The overall long term decline in voluntary returns is blamed on “tighter screening of passengers prior to travel and changes in visa processes and regimes”. I’ve no idea what this means and it’s the first time I’ve seen this put forward as an explanation. Others think that the decline is due to the Home Office taking the voluntary return scheme in house and messing it up.

£748.4 million of Immigration Health Surcharge income was transferred from the Home Office to pay for the NHS. There’s no equivalent payment cited for transfers of the income from Immigration Skills Charge, which makes it look like it was retained within the Home Office. Or it is such a small amount it is not worth mentioning.

Meanwhile, expenditure on consultancy services and agency workers soared from £215 million in 2021-22 to £375 million in 2022-23.

Relevant articles chosen for you
Picture of Colin Yeo

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.