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Deportation: Democratic Republic of Congo

Volume 463: debated on Monday 1 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were removed under immigration law to (a) Democratic Republic of Congo and (b) Congo (Brazzaville) in each of the last six months; and what plans he has to remove people to either country in future. (155330)

[holding answer 12 September 2007]: The table shows the number of failed asylum applicants removed to Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between January and June 2007 inclusive. This is the latest six-month period for which figures are available.

Information on the total number of persons removed between January and June 2007 (including non-asylum cases) is not available for release under National Statistics protocols.

On 23 August 2007, Justice Collins ordered that the removal of all unsuccessful asylum seekers to DRC must be deferred until the Country Guidance case is determined. In line with the High Court’s decision of 23 August 2007, the Border and Immigration Agency will not enforce the removal of Congolese asylum seekers to DRC until the Asylum Immigration Tribunal (AIT) has substantively considered the pending Country Guidance case. The High Court’s decision, however, applies only to unsuccessful asylum seekers and we shall continue to remove immigration offenders who are Congolese nationals and have no legal right to remain in the UK. There are currently no legal impediments stopping us from removing to Congo those Congolese nationals with no right to remain in the UK.

The Government are committed to providing protection to those individuals who are found to be in fear of persecution. It is only right that we provide that protection, but equally, it is only right that we enforce the return of those who have no right to remain here: this is a key part to upholding a robust and fair asylum system.

Copies of statistics publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office’s Research, Development and Statistics website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html

Removals, voluntary departures and assisted returns1 of asylum applicants2, including dependants, to Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, January—June 20073,4

Number of removals

Destination

January

February

March

April

May

June

January-June total

Congo

5

*

5

5

5

5

25

Democratic Republic of Congo

10

40

10

15

5

10

90

1 Includes enforced removals, persons departing voluntarily after enforcement action had been initiated against them, persons leaving under assisted voluntary return programmes run by the International Organisation for Migration and those who it is established have left the UK without informing the immigration authorities.

2 Persons who had sought asylum at some stage, including dependants.

3 Figures are rounded to the nearest five, (* = 1 or 2), and may not sum to the totals shown because of independent rounding.

4 Provisional figures.