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Detainees: Immigration

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 23 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will review the UK's opt-out from the EU returns directive; and if she will adopt a maximum time limit for the detention of illegal immigrants. (264766)

While the United Kingdom has not opted-in to this directive, we agree that a collective approach to removal would have advantages. However, we are not persuaded that this directive delivers the strong returns regime that is required for dealing with irregular migration. We prefer to formulate our own policy in line with retaining control over conditions of entry and stay; including the returns procedure. Our current practices on the return of illegal third country nationals are in line with the prescriptions of the directive.

Detention is a final option and is only used for the shortest period necessary. Every decision to detain is taken on a case by case basis and we do not have a maximum time limit.