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Asylum: Palestinians

Volume 490: debated on Monday 30 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers there are in the UK from (a) the Palestinian territories and (b) the Gaza Strip who have not been granted leave to remain and for which the Government have no removal plans; and if she will make a statement. (264175)

Since the phasing out of embarkation controls in 1994 no Government have been able to produce accurate figures for the number of failed asylum seekers who have remained in the United Kingdom after they have reached the Appeal Rights Exhausted stage, have not been granted leave to remain and no longer have any further claim to remain here. This applies irrespective of an individual's nationality or place of origin.

All asylum claims including those from individuals from the Palestinian territories (including the Gaza strip) are considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 refugee convention and the European convention on human rights. Those identified by the decision-making process and the independent appeals process not to be in need of international protection are expected to leave the UK voluntarily. Failed asylum seekers can and do voluntarily return to the Palestinian territories (including the Gaza strip). Those who do not leave voluntarily may have their return enforced.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers there are in the UK from (a) the Palestinian territories and (b) the Gaza Strip awaiting a decision on a new claim for asylum and for which the Government have no removal plans; and if she will make a statement. (264176)

Information on the number of failed asylum seekers who have made further submissions on their case which are still awaiting consideration can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. This applies irrespective of an individual's nationality or place of origin. Further submissions will only be classed as a fresh claim retrospectively following their full consideration where the submissions meet the criteria set out in paragraph 353 of the Immigration Rules.

All asylum claims including those from individuals from the Palestinian territories (including the Gaza strip) are considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 refugee convention and the European convention on human rights. Those identified by the decision-making process and the independent appeals process as not being in need of international protection are expected to leave the UK voluntarily. Failed asylum seekers can and do voluntarily return to the Palestinian territories (including the Gaza strip). Those who do not leave voluntarily may have their return enforced.

However, the UK Border Agency will not enforce the return of a failed asylum seeker who has made further submissions in their case as long as those submissions, including any appeal if the submissions are accepted as a fresh claim, remain pending. Again, this applies irrespective of an individual's nationality or place or origin.