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Immigration: Removal Centres

Volume 686: debated on Thursday 2 November 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the average length of detention of asylum seekers subject to the fast track process at immigration removal centres; and how this compares with the figures before the process was introduced.[HL7804]

At Oakington the average time to initial decision from date of application for the first two quarters of this year was 12 days. Following completion of the Oakington process at this stage claimants may be further detained after they have been served with a decision in accordance with general detention criteria or released on temporary admission.

The average length in detention in 2005-06—that is, from 1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006—for asylum seekers subject to the fast-track process at Harmondsworth who were removed from the UK in that period was 65 days. The equivalent figure for Yarl's Wood was 57.5 days.

Since the Oakington, Harmondsworth and Yarl's Wood fast-track processes are end-to-end processes from the initial asylum interview through to removal, meaningful comparisons with the figures before the process was introduced cannot be made.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How long victims of torture, rape and sexual violence have under the fast track process at immigration removal centres to obtain independent legal and professional advice in time for both their initial claims and their appeals; and what priority their cases receive.[HL7805]

Onsite legal services are available to all claimants detained at Oakington for their application to be considered under the fast-track process irrespective of the basis of their claim for asylum. All claimants who enter the detained fast-track (DFT) process at Harmondsworth or Yarl's Wood are offered the services of a duty representative but they can instruct their own private firm instead if they wish.

Claimants detained at Oakington can be referred to the Medical Foundation by representatives in the same way as other claimants who are not detained. If the Medical Foundation agrees to accept a claimant for pre-assessment the claimant is taken out of the Oakington process. The referral is usually accepted within 24 hours. Similarly at Harmondsworth and Yarl's Wood, if a written confirmation of a Medical Foundation is produced before the initial decision is made, claimants are released from detention and the DFT process.