asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many foreign children under the age of 18 the Border and Immigration Agency, or its predecessor, sought to deport in each of the current and previous two years; and in how many cases this happened, either voluntarily or by enforcement. [HL39]
Four thousand eight hundred and seventy children under the age of 18 were removed from the UK in 2005 and 5,795 in 2006. These figures include enforced removals, persons refused entry at port and subsequently removed, persons departing voluntarily after enforcement action had been initiated against them, persons leaving under assisted voluntary return programmes run by the International Organization for Migration and those whom it is established have left the UK without informing the immigration authorities. They include both asylum and non-asylum cases. These figures are rounded to the nearest five; the figure for 2006 is provisional.
An unaccompanied child under the age of 18 would not be considered for removal from the UK unless it has been established with the country to which the child is to be removed that adequate reception arrangements are in place. Officers must liaise with social services and/or the nominated guardian with responsibility for the care of the child in the UK to ensure the removal is affected in the most sensitive manner possible.
National statistics on the number of persons against whom removal action was initiated in 2005 and 2006 are not available due to data quality issues. Therefore it is not possible to say how many persons the Border and Immigration Agency sought to remove. In addition, those departing voluntarily can leave the UK at any time.
Information on the number of asylum applicants removed from the UK between January and September 2007 will be published in the Asylum Statistics: 3rd Quarter 2007 bulletin, scheduled for 20 November. Copies of this publication will be available from the Library of the House and on the Home Office's research, development and statistics website at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.