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Asylum Seekers

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Afghans with (a) exceptional leave to remain in Britain and (b) awaiting a decision on an asylum application on appeal have received a resettlement grant in each month since August 2002. [108049]

[Pursuant to my reply, 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 62W], I regret to say that as a result of an administrative error, the figures within the table and the text were incorrect.The table details the number of individuals who travelled under the Return to Afghanistan Programme (RAP) each month between 20 August 2002 (when the Programme commenced) and 31 March 2003. In total there were 39 returnees and each received a resettlement grant (£600 per individual, up to a maximum of £2,500 per family).

Number of persons returned individuallyNumber of persons returned as part of a familyTotal number of persons returned
August 2002101
September 2002203
October 200221(6)8
November 200231(7)10
December 2002000
January 2003404
February 2003101
March 200371(5)12


Local management information provided by the Home Office Assisted Voluntary Return Team.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to revise the status of refused asylum seekers from Zimbabwe who are no longer being deported; and if he will make a statement. [116410]

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced a suspension on enforced returns of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe on 15 January 2002. We have, however, continued to process asylum claims.Those who are refused asylum may be granted some other form of leave if they have a protection need or there are other particularly compelling reasons to do so. In such cases a person would have been granted exceptional leave before 1 April 2003, or humanitarian protection or discretionary leave since then.Where a person has not been granted asylum, exceptional leave or humanitarian protection or discretionary leave, it follows that we do not consider that they have demonstrated a protection need or a compelling reason why they should be allowed to remain here. As a result, while we are not enforcing the removal of such individuals to Zimbabwe at present, they have no right to remain in the United Kingdom and are expected to return voluntarily.I consider that it is right that leave should not be granted to those who do not qualify for it under our international obligations or under the immigration rules or Government policy. Such individuals have no basis of stay in the United Kingdom and it would be inappropriate to grant a formal period of leave simply because removal was not currently being enforced.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his Answer of 1 May 2003, Official Report, column 523W, if he will make a statement on the systems that are in place to track and monitor failed asylum seekers. [116680]

The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) maintains databases containing address details for failed asylum seekers, which are also recorded in the individual's Home Office file. All applicants, and their representatives, are told of their obligation to notify the Home Office of any subsequent change of address.A large proportion of failed asylum seekers are required to report periodically to the United Kingdom Immigration Service (UKIS) and verification of the place of residence occurs during the reporting event. UKIS make regular checks, by letter and personal visits, to ensure that all individuals still reside at the recorded address.There are eight designated reporting centres to assist in managing reporting regimes and, in addition, a person may he required to report to a police station near their address.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to which countries failed asylum seekers are not being removed; and for what reasons. [117376]

We do not currently enforce returns to: Burundi,where the general security situation is poor; to Iraq, previously due to the nature of the Saddam regime and subsequently due to the recent conflict; to Somalia, due to conditions arising from fighting between rival militia; or Zimbabwe, where we introduced a temporary suspension of enforced removals in January 2002 due to the political situation.

We continue to monitor conditions in these countries carefully and enforced returns will be resumed as soon as circumstances allow. We do not accept that any of these countries are wholly unsafe, or that failed asylum seekers would be at risk of persecution if they returned. However, those unsuccessful asylum applicants who have exhausted their appeal rights, and do not return voluntarily, will not be forcibly removed at the present time.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to inform hon. Members of changes in the list of countries to which failed asylum seekers are not being removed. [117377]

We do not currently enforce returns to Burundi, Iraq, Somalia, or Zimbabwe. We continue to monitor conditions in these countries and other asylum producing countries carefully.There is no list of countries which is periodically published. Specific decisions are taken in response to changes in individual countries and announced in the most appropriate way at that time.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set up surgeries for hon. Members to discuss asylum cases. [117906]

I do not have any plans to set up any surgeries to discuss asylum cases.