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Asylum

Volume 499: debated on Wednesday 11 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of asylum seekers who will present at the UK Border Agency in Croydon once it becomes the central place of presentation. (295171)

Prior to Croydon being designated as the single site for the screening of in country asylum applicants, Liverpool ASU completed an average of five to 10 asylum screening appointments per day for main asylum applicants. This is the number of extra people who will be expected now to make their claim in Croydon.

Croydon ASU saw an average of 39 applications daily prior to its designation as the single site for screening of in country applicants.

Since 14 October the highest number of applications seen in a week has been 42.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the written ministerial statement of 13 October 2009, Official Report, columns 20-21WS, on asylum, on what grounds he decided that the asylum screening unit in Croydon should be the only location at which initial asylum applications may be made; what assessment he has made of the likely effects on Croydon of that decision; and if he will allocate funds to Croydon borough council for the purposes of making provision for an increase in demand on local services consequent on the closure of the Liverpool asylum submissions unit to initial asylum applications. (295519)

[holding answer 28 October 2009]: An operational decision was taken to re-designate the asylum screening unit (ASU) in Liverpool to a further submissions unit (FSU). Failed asylum seekers who wish to submit any further submissions now have to do so in person instead of by post, as we believe it is appropriate to see individuals in person when they submit information about their asylum claim, as evidence suggests that the majority of further submissions are not accepted as a fresh claim. We think that requiring people to make further submissions in person will discourage abuse and help us run a more efficient system so that people who are in need of our protection get it without delay.

We also believe that anyone seeking asylum should do so at the first available opportunity—this means on arrival at a port of entry. So only those who have failed to claim on arrival will be required to travel to Croydon to make their asylum application. The decision to designate Croydon ASU as the single site for applicants to lodge a claim for asylum reflects this fact. It also reflects the fact that the impact on Croydon is not expected to be dramatic as Croydon ASU has the capacity and existing infrastructure to screen the limited numbers of applicants that are expected to lodge an asylum claim at ASU Croydon once ASU Liverpool is redesignated. Before the change Liverpool ASU were booking on average between five—10 appointments a day. This is the number of extra people who will be expected now to make their claim in Croydon. It is therefore considered that the effects on Croydon would be minimal, particularly as a partial appointment system has been introduced which allows increased opportunity to manage the flow of intake into the ASU.

There are insufficient grounds to allocate Croydon borough council more funds as a very small proportion of those who claim asylum in Croydon will remain there. Those asylum applicants who are destitute will be accommodated away from London and the south-east and there are transitional arrangements to take account of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children claiming in Liverpool. Once these transitional arrangements have ended, there should be minimal financial affect on Croydon borough council as the UK Border Agency fully funds the council on a per day basis for each UASC they are responsible for. Additionally, the numbers of additional UASC claiming asylum at Croydon ASU are not expected to be significant.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers on the list of legacy cases (a) have been granted permission to remain in the United Kingdom and (b) are known to have left the country in (i) the last 12 months and (ii) the most recent period for which statistics are available. (298383)

The UK Border Agency is continuing to clear the backlog of the older asylum cases. Lin Homer, the Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency, writes to the Home Affairs Select Committee every six months with a performance update in the resolution of the older asylum cases. She most recently reported that up to the end of September 2009 the UK Border Agency had granted some form of leave to remain in 74,000 asylum legacy cases and had removed over 30,000 cases. Up until the end of October 2008 the UK Border Agency had granted some form of leave to remain in 51,000 asylum legacy cases and had removed over 23,500 cases. A copy of these letters has been placed in the Library of the House.