Previous Section Index Home Page

11 Dec 2002 : Column 363W—continued

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers from Somalia have been deported in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [85681]

Beverley Hughes: The latest available data for removals of Somali nationals who have sought asylum at some stage are for the 12 months to June 2002 and are given in the table.

Removal of Somali nationals(9),(10)

Month Number
July 20015
August 20010
September 2001(9)
October 2001(9)
November 2001(9)
December 2001(9)
January 20025
February 2002(9)
March 20025
April 200210
May 20025
June 2002(9)

(9) Figures are rounded to nearest five with — denoting 1 or 2.


1. Estimates of asylum removals by nationality—principal applicants removed only. Includes persons departing 'voluntarily' after the initiation of enforcement action against them, and persons leaving under Assisted Voluntary Returns Programmes run by the International Organization for Migration.

2. Removal is not necessarily to country of origin.

11 Dec 2002 : Column 364W

Data on removals by nationality in the period July to September 2002 are due to be published at the end of February 2003 on the Home Office web-site:

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long it has taken on average since 1997 for the successful asylum seeker to receive his or her official status letter, once indefinite leave to remain has been granted; what is the longest time any successful asylum seeker has had to wait for his or her official status letter since 1997; what the target time is for official status letters to be sent out; and if the average wait for such documents is decreasing. [86135]

Beverley Hughes: Information on the processing times for individual types of application is not recorded centrally and could only be obtained by scrutiny of individual case files, at disproportionate cost. Official status letters are normally sent out without delay following the decision to grant asylum, except where the asylum claimant is no longer in contact with the Home Office.

11 Dec 2002 : Column 365W

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if the prison service is holding asylum seekers in prisons in England and Wales; and if he will make a statement. [86827]

Beverley Hughes: Our policy on the detention of asylum seekers in prison accommodation was set out in our White Paper XSecure Borders, Safe Haven—Integration with Diversity in Modern Britain". We made it clear that, although the routine use of prison accommodation for immigration detainees had ended, there would remain a need to hold small numbers of individuals, including individuals who may have sought asylum at some stage, in prison for reasons of security and control. There has been no change in that policy.


Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 27 September from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Winston Frank Tracey; [81711]

Beverley Hughes: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 10 December 2002.

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department will answer the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East's letter of 26 May, about Mr. Ahmed, reference A1031630; and if he will make a statement on the volume of correspondence received by his Department. [83901]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 5 December 2002]: I wrote to the hon. Member on 10 December 2002. I am sorry for the delay in replying.

The Home Department receives large amounts of correspondence from hon. Members, right hon. Friends, hon. Friends and members of the public.

The number of letters received from members of the public between April 2002 and the end of October 2002 was 26,460. The volume in the previous full financial year 2001–02 was 35,549. Public volume figures exclude letters relating to immigration and nationality matters.

In addition the number of replies sent to ministerial correspondence between April 2002 and the end of October 2002 was 12,110. The total volume for the previous full financial year 2001–02 was 21,099.

11 Dec 2002 : Column 366W

We aim to send a substantive reply to all letters as soon as possible. I am determined to achieve a high level of performance in dealing quickly with correspondence and to deliver a greater standard of service to all Members of Parliament and the public.

Criminal Records Bureau

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he anticipates the Criminal Records Bureau will reach its performance targets for processing applications. [86057]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 9 December 2002]: The Home Secretary's independent review team is in the process of examining all aspects of the Criminal Records Bureau's (CRB's) operation with a view to identifying medium to long term improvements, which will include service standards. They will report to the Home Secretary shortly, their recommendations will then be elaborated and implemented in the course of 2003.

The Criminal Records Bureau has implemented a range of improvements to processes and working practices and the intensive focus on improvements is already yielding results. The current average turnaround time for processing correctly completed disclosure applications is now five weeks. Over the last two weeks the CRB has been averaging around 43,500 Disclosures per week, which is over double the weekly output issued by the police under the previous arrangements. Since 11 March the CRB has received 1,023,000 applications and issued over 755,000 disclosures.


Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of those presenting themselves at each port of entry were seeking to reside in Britain in each of the past 10 years. [86745]

Beverley Hughes: The information available is on passengers (excluding EEA nationals) admitted to the United Kingdom, rather than on those presenting themselves at ports. A very small proportion of those admitted are granted settlement (permanent residency) on arrival and they are clearly seeking to reside in the UK. However, the vast majority of non-visitors are given limited leave to remain for periods of up to between one and five years. It is difficult to know at the port of entry how many of these will ultimately seek to settle in the UK as once in country, subject to immigration rules, they may extend their leave to remain and subsequently apply for settlement.

The table shows the total number of persons admitted to the UK, excluding EEA nationals, over the last 10 years. It also shows the numbers admitted in categories that might eventually lead to settlement.

Corresponding information on admissions at each of the ports of entry (of which there are more than 40) in each of the past 10 years is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

11 Dec 2002 : Column 367W

Passengers given leave to enter the UK, excluding EEA nationals(10), 1992–2001
Number of journeys

Passengers admitted in categories which might lead to settlement
YearTotal admissionsGranted settlement on arrival(11) Work permit holders and their dependants UK ancestrySpouses and fiancé(e)sOthers given leave to enter(12)

(10) EEA nationals are free to enter and to remain in the UK without requiring leave to do so.

(11) Excludes asylum related cases given indefinite leave to enter; these are included in 'Others given leave to enter'.

(12) Includes: common law spouses; children given leave as dependants of settled parents; investors; retired persons of independent means; same sex partners admitted for a probationary year; dependants of persons granted admission through UK ancestry; persons who have applied for asylum at ports (and their accompanying dependants) and who have been granted asylum or exceptional leave, and are hence given leave to enter; and others.


1. The data given are of the number of journeys made: a person who makes more than one journey is counted on each occasion, either in a specific category if given fresh leave to enter or as passengers returning.

2. Data rounded to the nearest five or three significant figures.

Next Section Index Home Page