UK hires kids out of high school to assess asylum seeker claims

28 February 2016 1:45 pm

Battling to process the growing number of asylum, the British government is now hiring kids out of high school to make life and death decisions processing claims. At least it’s cheap.

The Observer reports that the Home Office is recruiting gap-year students on temporary contracts during busy periods to help process asylum claims. Job adverts for these temporary contracts are placed on student and university websites.

The practice of recruiting students on “gap year”—a break that some UK students take between high school and college—has been going on for years at the Home Office, a spokesperson told the Observer.

It’s a worry because immigration lawyers undergo years of specialised training after they finish their degrees, learning about issues like immigrant rights, political asylum, extradition, visa processes, naturalization and deportation.

They literally have to make life and death decisions. It’s symptomatic of a wider problem when you have poorly trained people working through legally complex issues that can change people’s lives, or destroy them.

Asylum seeker applications to the UK have rocketed by 20 per cent in just one year. It’s the fifth successive annual rise in asylum applications, fuelled by the European-wide refugee crisis and the Calais migrant camps.

From January through to September last year, the UK received 22,314 asylum applications. Almost 60 per cent were refused.

If nothing else, it tells us what low priority the refugee crisis is for the British government. It coincides with places like Hungary sealing its borders to keep out thousands of desperate refugees. Or Australia incarcerating them on Manus Island and Nauru.