THE Home Office has yet to process 96 per cent of asylum claims made by migrants who crossed the Channel last year, MPs have been told.

Just 4% of applications submitted by migrants making the journey in 2021 have been completed, the UK Government department’s officials have revealed.

Of those completed, 85% were granted refugee status or another protection status, the Commons Home Affairs Committee heard.

Officials also said more than 38,000 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in over 900 boats in 2022 to date, compared with 28,526 last year.

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Dan Hobbs, the Home Office’s director of asylum, protection and enforcement, told the committee there is a “challenge in processing asylum claims in a timely way at present” and confirmed only a “small proportion” of last year’s arrivals had been granted asylum.

Paula Barker, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said: “I see first hand day in day out, and so do my team, the utter chaos in dealing with the Home Office with asylum claims.

“Some of my constituents who have or are going through the process are reporting to my office that they haven’t had an interview for two years."

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council: “The Home Office’s chronically slow asylum decision system is simply not acceptable.

"We must remember that behind every statistic is a person who just wants to receive a decision so they can move on with rebuilding their lives.

“We must also challenge the UK Government’s misleading narrative around small boat crossings. We know that the vast majority of people who risk their lives by making these dangerous journeys do so to seek safety, and that they have arrived from countries where war, terror and persecution can be a daily reality.

“The UK Government is failing to invest in any safe routes to protection for people fleeing conflict around the globe. We urgently need more safe routes to sanctuary."

During the session, officials also said that the interception rate made by French police of migrants attempting the crossing had fallen.

Last year the rate was about 50% and this year it has dropped to 42.5%, clandestine Channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney said.

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He accepted this was a lower percentage but stressed it was a “much, much bigger number”, telling how French authorities had stopped 28,000 migrants crossing the Channel and intercepted and destroyed 1,072 boats so far this year.

“I should put on record my thanks to the French … this is around double what they managed to achieve last year, so that is really, really significant,” O’Mahoney said.

But he added: “It is correct to say that migrants can attempt to cross on more than one occasion and therefore those 28,000 migrants may not be individual, different migrants, so it’s 28,000 attempts.”

Work by the UK and French authorities have led to 55 serious organised crime gangs behind such crossings being “dismantled” since a joint intelligence cell was set up in France a couple of years ago, he added.