[holding answer 22 May 2006]: The number of asylum seekers supported by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) is published on a quarterly and annual basis, broken down by Government office region and local authority. The next publication covering the first quarter of 2006 will be published on 23 May 2006, and will be available on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html. Data on asylum seekers supported by NASS broken down by parliamentary constituency are also available from the Library.
The location of asylum seekers not supported by NASS could be provided only by looking at individual case records.
While a supported application is being processed and dispersed accommodation arranged, asylum seekers are housed in Initial Accommodation. As at the end of April 2006 there were 160 asylum seekers in Initial accommodation in the west midlands region.
Some longer standing asylum seekers remain supported by local authorities. Latest available management information suggests that there are 17 cases still supported by authorities in the west midlands.
The recent National Audit Office report “Returning failed asylum applicants” acknowledges that the number of failed asylum seekers in the UK is impossible to determine as some will have left the country of their own accord.
No Government have ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of failed asylum seekers who are in the country illegally. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately, and that remains the case.
Information on the number of removals of failed asylum seekers is published quarterly and annually, on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
This information was not recorded before June 2005. There were 279 fresh applications recorded in the period June 2005 to March 2006 from those who had exhausted their appeal rights. In its 2004 report “Improving the speed and quality of asylum decisions”, the National Audit Office accepted a figure of approximately £3,000 as the average cost of reaching an initial decision on an asylum application. Updating to 2006 prices suggests a current average cost of £3,400.
I am advised that of the approximately 6,000 failed asylum seekers whose appeal rights have been exhausted and who have submitted further representations which they claim amount to a fresh asylum claim, approximately 17 per cent. were from Zimbabwe, 13 per cent. from Iraq, 7 per cent. from Iran, 7 per cent. from Somalia, 7 per cent. from Eritrea, 6 per cent. from Sri Lanka, 6 per cent. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 6 per cent. from Afghanistan, 3 per cent. from Pakistan, 3 per cent. from Turkey, 3 per cent. From Ethiopia, 3 per cent. from Sudan and 1 per cent. from Kosovo. The remaining numbers form percentages of less than one per cent. from each of a substantial number of countries. This information is based on internal management information and as such is not published within official statistics.
I am advised that the numbers are as follows:
20061 Number January 244 February 339 March 443 April 431 Total 1,457 1 Of foreign nationals who have returned to their country of origin under the Voluntary Assisted Return Reintegration Programme (VARRP) programme and whose appeal rights exhausted.
1 Of foreign nationals who have returned to their country of origin under the Voluntary Assisted Return Reintegration Programme (VARRP) programme and whose appeal rights exhausted.
The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) provides support to eligible asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute. Generally, this support ends when the asylum seeker’s claim for asylum has been finally determined.
However, where the applicant’s claim has been finally determined as refused, support may continue under section 95 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1999 provided the applicant has minor dependants under the age of 18. The average cost of section 95 support, including accommodation and subsistence from un-audited April to November 2005 financial information is estimated at £141 per person per week.
Support may also be provided under section four of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1999 if the applicant is destitute and unable to leave the UK immediately due to circumstances beyond their control. The average cost of section four support for the same period is estimated at £129 per week.