UK: Stealth asylum amnesty

Immigration chiefs have denied a "stealth amnesty" of failed asylum seekers as it was revealed 19,000 had been allowed to stay in the UK.

They were part of a backlog of up to 450,000 failed asylum seeker cases discovered last year by officials.

The figures were in a leaked letter from immigration chief Lin Homer to home affairs committee chair Keith Vaz.

The Tories said it was a "stealth amnesty" but Ms Homer said each case was "judged according to the law".

Previous home secretary John Reid announced the scale of the backlog in asylum cases July last year, which he said was between 400,000 and 450,000.

He pointed out that the figure referred to case files, rather than individuals, and said they were "riddled with duplication and errors".