Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what is the average waiting time for a decision to be made on an application for asylum; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what is the average waiting time between an initial rejection of an application for asylum and the hearing of an appeal; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Kirkhope: I refer the hon. Members to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Newcastle Upon Tyne, North (Mr. Henderson) on 22 November, Official Report, column 219, which gave the available information on the average times involved in deciding applications for asylum.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of visitors and short-term students who have overstayed in the United Kingdom in each year since 1990 or asked for political asylum; and if he will name the country from which these people came. 
Mr. Kirkhope: Information on the number of visitors and students who have overstayed in the United Kingdom is not available. The estimated proportion of asylum-seekers since 1990 who had entered the United Kingdom in another capacity before submitting their asylum application is given in the table. A nationality breakdown of these figures is not available.
|Of which proportion submitted
|Out of time
(22) Applications submitted after entry into the United Kingdom.
(23) Include those granted leave to enter or remain in other capacities
as well as visitors and students.
(24) Includes illegal entrants and those whose status was unknown.
29 Nov 1995 : Column: 770
Mr. Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the European countries which operate special asylum procedures to deal with cases where the applicant is a national of a country in which there is no serious risk of persecution. 
Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are currently being held in detention in police stations; what is the length of time of their detention (a) in police stations (b) in total; and if he will present this information according to the nationality of the asylum seekers. 
The longest period of time that any of these people have been detained in a police cell is seven nights. This is the maximum time that a person who has claimed asylum can be detained in police cells if removal directions have been set. If removal directions have not been set, a person can be detained for up to five nights.
Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to ensure that his proposals for reform of asylum and immigration rules do not contradict commitments made under the 1951 United Nations refugee convention; and if he will make a statement. 
Miss Widdecombe: As my right hon. and learned Friend made clear in his statement to the House on 20 November, all our proposals for further measures are consistent with our international obligations under the 1951 United Nations convention relating to the status of refugees.
Mr. Kirkhope: It is not Government policy to confirm or deny the existence of extradition requests from foreign Governments, unless they are already made public, for example, following court proceedings. Italian requests for the extradition of Roberto Fiore and Massimo Morsello
29 Nov 1995 : Column: 771
failed in 1982 when the courts found an insufficiency of evidence under the prima facie case standard which then applied. Since 1991 a lesser standard under section 7 of the Extradition Act 1989 is required in respect of such requests.
Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the prosecution of Bengt Bolin under Sweden's extra-territorial jurisdiction for child sex offences; and what plans he has to introduce equivalent extra-territorial laws in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Maclean: We have not yet received all the information we need from the Swedish authorities to make a full assessment of whether the evidence used in the Bolin case would have satisfied the normal requirements of a United Kingdom court.
However, if a British national had committed a similar offence abroad we, unlike the Swedes who do not extradite their nationals, would have been able to return him to stand trial in the place where he was alleged to have offended. We believe that extradition in these cases is a more appropriate response, and we have no current plans to extend our jurisdiction to enable us to deal in this country with offences committed abroad. We do, however, keep this matter under review.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications to enter the United Kingdom for temporary purposes have been made in each year since 1992; how many have been refused; and if he will list the refusal rate for each year expressed as a percentage of the whole. 
|Initial refusal rate(26)
|7.8 per cent.
|6.5 per cent.
|6.2 per cent.
(25) Includes granted initially and granted on appeal.
(26) Calculated as the number of initial refusals as a proportion of
29 Nov 1995 : Column: 772
criminal injuries compensation scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Maclean: The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board does not record centrally fully comprehensive information about the time taken to process applications. However, some information about the time taken for the board to reach decisions on cases and the time taken to resolve hearings is given at paragraphs 3.12 and 4.14 of the board's 30th annual report (CM 2849), copies of which are held in the Library.
This shows that the board's performance in processing cases has been improving. But as we have made clear, we believe that a scheme which is based on common law damages is inherently incapable of providing the level of service which claimants are entitled to expect. That is why we plan to introduce, in April 1996, the new tariff-based scheme provided for in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995. The new scheme should be easier to understand, simpler to administer and claimants should get their money more quickly.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the matters discussed and decisions taken at the meeting held on 17 November with political representatives and officials of the Channel Islands states and what further plans exist for future meetings. 
Mr. Kirkhope: The meeting on 17 November was one in a regular series held at the Home Office in which United Kingdom Government officials brief political representatives, Crown officers and officials of the Channel Islands and Isle of Man on international developments of particular interest to the islands' authorities.
The meeting discussed recent and prospective developments in the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, the Energy Charter Treaty, the external frontiers convention, identity cards and the transport and disposal of radioactive waste. At the islands' request, a further meeting, to provide additional briefing on the latter issue, is currently being arranged for early January.