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Zimbabwe: Asylum Seekers

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

20 Oct 2008 : Column WA88

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK Border Agency only detains those Zimbabwean nationals who have committed crimes within the United Kingdom, are subject to deportation action and have been assessed as unsuitable for release due to being either a threat to the public and/or likely to abscond. Provisional management information indicates that, as at 29 September, there were 36 Zimbabwean nationals convicted of crimes within the UK who were held in detention pending deportation action. All such individuals have the opportunity to apply for release on bail to the independent Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.

The situation in Zimbabwe is currently being considered by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. We have no plans to resume enforced returns to Zimbabwe before the tribunal has reached its conclusion. The timing of the resumption of enforced returns will take full account of the situation in Zimbabwe at the relevant time.

Where a decision has been made that a person does not require international protection, and there are no remaining rights of appeal or obstacles to their return, we expect unsuccessful asylum seekers to return to their country of origin. Return and reintegration assistance is available through the International Organisation for Migration.

We will continue to help those Zimbabweans who want to go home voluntarily.

The Prime Minister informed Parliament on 10 July that the Government are actively looking at the situation of those Zimbabweans who do not have a protection need but who have not returned home voluntarily. That consideration is currently ongoing and the Government will report back to Parliament once this has been completed.

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