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4 Feb 2004 : Column 982Wcontinued
Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what instructions were given to his Department's staff on the length of time of stay that asylum seekers were allowed in the UK before applying for asylum before section 55 of the Nationality, Asylum and Immigration Act 2001 was enforced; from when those instructions applied; and what the current instructions are; and from what date they applied; 
(3) if he will publish the revised casework notes on the application of section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, issued to the National Asylum Support Service caseworkers after 17 December 2003. 
Beverley Hughes: Instructions on the operation of Section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 first appeared in Policy Bulletin 75, published on 7 January 2003. Revised instructions appear in Policy Bulletin 75 version 3, published 11 April 2003.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced on 17 December 2003 that asylum applicants who could give a credible explanation of the way in which they arrived in the UK and who had made a claim for asylum within three days of arrival would be considered to have applied as soon as reasonably practicable.
In view of the interest in the operation of section 55, a new revised edition of Policy Bulletin 75 which will include guidance to National Asylum Support Service caseworkers, will be published in February.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further research has been conducted since July 2002 on why asylum seekers seek asylum in Britain rather than elsewhere; on what size of sample such research was based; and from which countries the participants originated. 
Beverley Hughes: Since the publication of the Home Office report "Understanding the decision-making of asylum seekers" (Home Office Research Series 243/Findings 172) in July 2002, there has been no further research undertaken by the Home Office which focuses specifically on why asylum seekers choose to come to the United Kingdom in preference to other possible destinations.
The Research Development and Statistics Directorate of the Home Office is in the process of agreeing its 200405 research programme. It is likely that further investigations into the decision-making of asylum applicants and other migrants will form a part of this programme.
Siobhain McDonagh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applicants who are citizens of Sri Lanka were given permission to stay in the UK in (a) 2000, (b) 2001, (c) 2002 and (d) 2003; and how many applications were refused in
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each of these years. 
Beverley Hughes [pursuant to his answer, 21 January 2004, Official Report, c. 1269W]: Due to an administrative error the figures for Sri Lanka were not the most current figures available. The corrected version of the answer is in the table.
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The table shows the available data, for outcomes of initial decisions relating to asylum applications (principal applicants) for nationals of Sri Lanka in 2000, 2001, 2002 and from January to September 2003. Grants of exceptional leave to remain and of discretionary leave may be followed by review of individuals' cases and do not necessarily result in permanent settlement.
|Sri Lanka||Totaldecisions||Grants of asylum||Grants of Exceptional Leave to Remain||Grants of Humanitarian Protection||Grants of Discretionary Leave||Totalrefusals(25)||Grants of Exceptional Leave to Remain under backlog criteria(26) , (27)||Non compliance refusals under backlog criteria(26) , (28)|
|January to September 2003(30)||1,265||20||55||||35||1,155||n/a||n/a|
n/a = not applicable
(23) Provisional figures rounded to nearest 5.
(24) Information is of initial determination decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.
(25) May include some refusals under non compliance grounds.
(26) Cases decided under pragmatic measures aimed at reducing the pre 1996 asylum backlog.
(27) May include a small number of cases where asylum has been granted.
(28) May include a small number of cases where the application has been refused on substantive grounds.
(29) Revised figures
(30) Provisional figures.
The table shows the available data, for outcomes of appeals relating to refused asylum applications (principal applicants) for nationals of Sri Lanka in 2000, 2001, 2002 and from January to September 2003. Allowed appeals may result in grants of asylum, grants of humanitarian protection or grants of discretionary leave, or in appeals to the IAT by the Secretary of State, and do not necessarily result in permanent settlement.
|Appeals determined by adjudicators(32)|
|Total||Total||As percentage of Determined||Total||As percentage of Determined||Total||As percentage of Determined|
|January to September 2003||4,710||580||12||4,015||85||110||2|
(31) Provisional figures rounded to nearest 5 (except percentages) with '*' = 1 or 2. Figures may not add up due to independent rounding.
(32) Figures include cases withdrawn by the Home Office, as well as the appellant.
Information on asylum applications and decisions is published quarterly. The next publication will be available on the 24 February 2004 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many convictions for burglary were of first-time burglars in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) police authority and (b) age; and how many of these were given a custodial sentence in each year. 
Ms Blears: The information requested is not available. However Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 1998 (Cm. 4649) and Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 2000 (Cm. 5312), both deposited in the Library, contain estimates of the percentage of male burglars sentenced in 1998 and 2000 who had no previous convictions for a standard list offence. The estimated percentages were 25 per cent. and 31 per cent. respectively for 1998 and 2000.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of prosecutions brought for cannabis-related offences have not resulted in a conviction in each of the last five years. 
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(33) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(34) Offences include supplying or offering to supply, possession with intent to supply, production, possession and permitting premises to be used for unlawful purpose (cannabis).
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what references will be made in his new campaign on drugs education to accompany the reclassification of cannabis on possible links with mental illness. 
Caroline Flint: A £1 million information campaign started on 22 January to inform the public about the changes to the law on cannabis. This includes radio and newspaper adverts, leaflets, posters, postcards and education packs for schools. All these communications are designed to provide the simple message that cannabis is harmful and remains illegal.
Further activity is planned to communicate specific messages about the health risks associated with cannabis, which are evidence based and rigorously market tested. This will include mental health issues.
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