The amount of people that are having to wait longer than the target time set by the Home Office for UK immigration claims to be processed has risen considerably despite a dip in the overall amount of cases.
The government has faced accusations of leaving thousands of applicants in a state of limbo and without their passports, with home office data showing that people waiting over six months to resolve their application for settlement has nearly doubled over the last three years.
Politicians and lawyers claimed that the data shows the increased waiting time is part of a hostile environment that is being implemented by the government to deter UK migration.
Around 10 percent of applicants had to wait longer than six months to resolve their UK immigration application in 2017, up from six percent of applicants made to wait longer than six months in 2016. This is despite the number of applications decreasing by around 20 percent in the same period.
The home office has claimed that the delays are caused by complications that affect some applications and that those wishing to withdraw their applications for settlement could get access to their passports.
The release of these figures comes during mounting condemnation of Home Office policies that are deemed to be creating a hostile environment in the wake of the Windrush scandal.
The newly released data shows that in the first half of 2018 nearly five percent of people that had their UK immigration applications resolved were made to wait over 12 months, more than double the 1.9 percent in 2014.
In total, decisions taking more than 24 months to be resolved amounted to 221, while 13 applicants had to wait for more than 10 years and one applicant waiting 29 years to resolve their case.
The Home Office has claimed that in most cases delays were caused by complex issues with the application, but critics have accused the department of using this as an excuse to delay resolving cases.
In order to obtain a UK visa for settlement, an applicant usually has to have either lived in the country for five years or have a close family member that is already a resident.