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Illegal Immigrants

Volume 586: debated on Monday 13 October 2014

8. How many illegal immigrants have been granted asylum or indefinite leave to remain in the UK since 2010. (905430)

We grant humanitarian protection only when it is genuinely needed. Sometimes that includes people who have overstayed their permission to be here, or who have entered the country without permission. Since 2010, 18,000 such people have been granted asylum.

Surely anybody who enters this country illegally should not be able to remain here with indefinite leave or be granted asylum, but should go through the proper processes. Will the Minister explain how many such cases have occurred as a result of the Human Rights Act, dating back to 1997? Is it not the case that that Act, rather than giving any meaningful rights to decent, law-abiding citizens in this country, is a charter for illegal immigrants? Is it not time that that wretched Human Rights Act was scrapped?

I say to my hon. Friend that it is right that appropriate process is undertaken, but that this country is proud of its record of providing humanitarian protection for those in genuine need. He makes an important point about the Human Rights Act. As he will know, the Prime Minister and others have underlined our commitment to see that Act reformed so that actions and matters are dealt with in our courts rather than elsewhere.

As the Minister will know, asylum seekers who successfully achieve refugee status have a 28-day move-on period before asylum support is withdrawn, in which to sort out a job, housing, benefits and so on. A recent report by the British Red Cross has, however, highlighted the fact that many successful claimants of refugee status find 28 days insufficient time to get all those arrangements in place. What discussions is the Minister having with other Departments, specifically the Department for Work and Pensions, to improve procedure so that such refugees are not left destitute?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for highlighting the issue of ensuring a smooth transition for genuine claimants who have been granted asylum. We keep such issues under careful review. Under the new contract put in place on 1 April, Migrant Help provides appropriate support and advice.

Detention plays a necessary role in our immigration asylum system, but detention centres must be sensitively designed and appropriate to their location. Plans to double the size of Campsfield House are neither and, as such, they are unsurprisingly opposed by both the independent monitoring board and the people of Kidlington. Will the Minister reconsider his plans, as they will not work for the detainees or for the local community?

I certainly recognise the local issues that my hon. Friend has highlighted and which she and I have discussed outside this House. It is right that the Government have the appropriate immigration detention facilities in place in the right parts of the country, and that is part of the overall reforms that we are putting in place to secure and achieve that. None the less, I note her comments and we will continue to reflect on them.