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Asylum

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her Department’s policy is on granting asylum to applicants who claim to have been persecuted by members of (a) another ethnic group and (b) armed groups operating unlawfully in their country of origin. (259321)

Our policy in deciding whether to grant asylum is set out in the immigration rules.

In accordance with this policy, UK Border Agency case owners carefully consider asylum claims to determine whether the person has a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. This will include persecution by members of another ethnic group or armed groups operating unlawfully in the country of origin where the state authorities, or the organisation (including international organisations) controlling the state territory, are unable or unwilling to provide protection against persecution or serious harm and where the individual cannot reasonably be expected to avoid the persecution by relocating within the country concerned.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what documentation her Department provides to asylum seekers when they claim asylum after arrival in the UK; and what services such people are entitled to receive on arriving in the country. (259655)

Asylum applicants and their dependants are issued with an Application Registration Card (ARC) on or after arrival in the United Kingdom, as an acknowledgement of an asylum claim made to the UK Border Agency. The card contains information about the identity and immigration status of the holder.

Asylum applicants are also issued with information sheets which set out the services they are entitled to receive for the duration of their claim. This includes health care, schooling for children and, subject to their financial circumstances, access to legal representation and benefits.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to expand the Gateway refugee programme; and if she will make a statement. (260094)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 9 December 2004, Official Report, columns 733-7W, to the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on asylum and immigration, how many asylum seekers have been dispersed to each parliamentary constituency in the latest two-year period for which figures are available. (260455)

Information on the number of asylum seekers that have been dispersed to each parliamentary constituency over a two-year period is not collated centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Statistics on the location of asylum seekers in the UK are published in tables 5 and 6 of the quarterly bulletin Control of Immigration on the number of asylum seekers in receipt of support at the end of the quarter, broken down by Government office, region and local authority.

Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.

Further break downs by parliamentary constituency are available from the Library of the House.