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Migrants: Detainees

Question for Home Office

UIN 43061, tabled on 4 May 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to reduce the number of people who are (a) held in immigration detention and (b) unlawfully detained.

Answered on

11 May 2020

We are making good progress with an ambitious and systematic programme of immigration detention reform, at the heart of which is a Government commitment, over time, to secure a material reduction in the number of people detained and the length of time they spend in detention, coupled with improved welfare for detainees and a culture that maintains the highest standards of professionalism.

As part of this reform, we are maximising the use of existing alternatives to detention and exploring new approaches including a current pilot to support vulnerable women in the community who would otherwise be detained at Yarl’s Wood.

We are progressing these priorities all while continuing to tackle abuse of the immigration system. The immigration estate is safer, more secure, and almost 40 per cent smaller than in 2015, with only four per cent of individuals detained for more than four months, and only two per cent of individuals detained for more than six months in year ending December 2019. Detention only exceeds these timescales in the most complex cases, almost always where serious and/or persistent criminality is involved.

Reducing instances of when the Courts find that we have unlawfully detained an individual is a priority. Often, an initial decision to detain will be appropriate, before a change in the individual’s circumstances undermines this decision. As part of our response to the Home Affairs Committee immigration detention report, the Home Office has begun a programme of work focused on litigation outcomes to ensure that best practice is shared, that lessons are learned, and that we reduce instances of unlawful detention.

Answered by

Home Office