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Automatic Immigration Bail Referral Pilot

Volume 654: debated on Thursday 7 February 2019

On 24 July 2018, the Home Secretary laid before Parliament the second independent review by Stephen Shaw CBE, into immigration detention. In responding to that review, the Home Secretary committed to going further and faster with the reforms to immigration detention in four priority areas: encouraging and supporting voluntary returns; improving the support available to vulnerable detainees; increasing transparency around immigration detention; and a new drive on dignity in detention.

As a part of this commitment, the Home Secretary, in agreement with the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, announced plans to pilot an additional automatic bail referral to the First-tier Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber at the two-month point, halving the time in detention before a first bail referral.

I am pleased to announce that this pilot will commence on 10 February. It will run for six months and will be evaluated fully.

This is an important additional safeguard for those who are detained, giving them certainty that their detention is subject to further independent judicial oversight. It builds on the current automatic bail referral regime at the four-month point which was introduced last year. I have written to the Chairs of the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights with more detail on the pilot and I will place copies of those letters in the Libraries of both Houses.

Together with the Ministry of Justice, we will consider the key outcomes of the pilot, as part of our continued efforts to ensure we have a detention system that is fair to those who may be detained, upholds our immigration policies and acts as a deterrent to those who might seek to frustrate immigration control.