To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average time is that a person has waited for the return of passports and other official documentation after their immigration status has been decided in the most recent period for which figures are available.
11 September 2018
Where a decision is taken to grant leave, documents will be returned in accordance with current processes.
These processes act as a checklist to ensure that relevant documents are collected and returned in a timely manner.
Home Office officials have worked with Royal Mail to ensure the process to return documents is secure and timely.
Section 17 of the Asylum & Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) Act 2004 gives the power to retain documents, such as a passport, where the Secretary of State or an immigration officer suspects a migrant is liable to removal and the retention of the document may facilitate removal.
The 2004 Act does not allow for the indefinite retention of documents. Where a person is later granted leave, in whatever capacity, the document must be returned to the holder unless it is a forgery.
The Home Office guidance can be found at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/640156/Retention-of-documents-v8.0ext.pdf