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Asylum Seekers

Volume 403: debated on Monday 14 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions his Department has had with (a) local authorities and (b) other organisations on the involvement of local authorities in providing non-cash support, with particular reference to (i) educational and (ii) child welfare support, to asylum seekers detained within their region; and if he will take steps to permit local authorities to provide support to people subject to immigration control. [107559]

Asylum seekers are not detained within regions. Generally speaking those detained under immigration powers are housed in removal centres. Destitute asylum seekers requesting that accommodation be provided will, as a matter of policy, be dispersed to designated areas.It is Government policy that children of compulsory school age here as part of an asylum seeking family should receive education. This policy applies to all asylum seekers irrespective of whether they are in receipt of support.The Children Act 1989 applies to all children in England and Wales irrespective of their immigration status. Within Scotland the relevant legislation is the Children Act (Scotland) 1995—which is similar but not identical to the Children Act 1989 which applies in England and Wales.Section 54 and schedule 3 of the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 makes it clear that failed asylum seekers, EEA nationals based in other European countries and illegal entrants cannot claim benefits, including local authority support, unless they satisfy certain criteria. Children but not their parents, are exempt from this provision.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions have taken place on the Asylum Seekers Dispersal Programme (a) by his Department and (b) by NASS with Stoke-on-Trent City Council. [107980]

Stoke-on-Trent is one of the eight local authorities in the West Midlands which form the West Midlands Consortium and which provide accommodation under contract I o the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). Discussions between NASS and the West Midlands Consortium took place on 20 January 2003 and 28 February 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers from Iraq in each of the last three years (a) have had their applications refused and exhausted all their appeal options, (b) have left the UK, (c) are receiving hard cases support and (d) are receiving no support; and if he will make a statement on Government policy concerning future support of failed asylum seekers from Iraq. [108021]

Information on asylum applications, initial decisions and appeals is published quarterly on the Home Office website at is not available on the numbers of asylum seekers in each of the last three years who have had their applications refused and exhausted all their appeal options, and could only be produced at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case files.The latest available data on removals of Iraqi nationals who have sought asylum at some stage are given in the table.

Removals and voluntary departures of Iraqi principal asylum applicants, excluding dependant1,2
January to September 20023135
1Includes persons departing "voluntarily" after enforcement action has been initiated against them, persons leaving under assisted voluntary return programmes run by the International Organisation for Migration, and removals on safe third country grounds.
2Data have been estimated due to data quality issues.
3Provisional data.
4Figure may include a small number of dependants leaving under assisted voluntary return programmes.
5Not available.
Figures are rounded to nearest five.
Information on those asylum applicants who leave the country without informing the Home Office is not available.Information on the number of Iraqis in receipt of hard case support could only be obtained by examination of individual case files. We do not have figures on the number of failed asylum seekers from Iraq remaining in the UK without support.The Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (the 1999 Act) and the Asylum Support Regulations require that, with the exception of families including children under the age of 18, support for failed asylum seekers must be terminated 21 days after the receipt of the final decision on the asylum claim. Failed asylum seekers who are unable to leave the UK immediately through no fault of their own and who have no other avenue of support can apply for the provision of accommodation under section 4.