Home Office admits 17,000 asylum seekers missing in Britain
More than 17,000 asylum seekers whose claims have been withdrawn are missing across the UK, the Home Office has admitted.
The revelation came as MPs discussed Rishi Sunak's target to eliminate the asylum backlog by the end of the year.
Thousands of applications were discontinued by the Home Office after claimants failed to respond.
"I don't think we know where all these people are," a senior official told the home affairs select committee.
When asked whether some people had returned to their home countries, Simon Ridley, a senior civil servant in the Home Office, said he did not know.
Claims are withdrawn if asylum seekers refuse to respond to two successive case worker interview requests or questionnaires.
This happened 17,316 times since December last year.
Any claimants who have their application withdrawn and remain in the UK they will be here illegally and can be removed.