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Written Answers

Monday, 5th March 2001.

Entry Clearance Application Arrangements

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What legal means exist for persons suffering persecution to travel to the United Kingdom for the purposes of claiming asylum, from (a) Afghanistan, (b) Iraq, (c) Iran, (d) Eritrea or Ethopia, (e) Sierra Leone, (f) Zimbabwe, (g) Sri Lanka.[HL785]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Entry Clearance Officers have discretion to accept, outside the Immigration Rules, an application for entry clearance to come to the United Kingdom where a foreign national demonstrates that his or her circumstances meet the definition of the 1951 Convention, that he or she has close ties with the United Kingdom, and where the United Kingdom is the most appropriate country of long-term refuge. Such applications are referred to the Home Office for consideration and, if appropriate, authorisation of Entry Clearance. A temporary Travel Document may be issued by the post abroad to facilitate travel to the United Kingdom.

Asylum Seekers in Emergency Accommodation

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many asylum seekers currently living in initial emergency accommodation have been there for (a) more than one month, and (b) more than three months; and how many under 18 years of age in each case.[HL556]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: This information is not readily available and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost. As at 23 February this year there were 7,247 people in emergency accommodation in England and Scotland.

Asylum Applications

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cases of rejected asylum seekers are being held by the Home Office, or the Immigration and Nationality Department, before being released to the Immigration Appellate Authority for hearing.[HL791]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Provisional figures for 2000 indicate that at the end of the year about 9,000 asylum cases were being prepared by the Home Office

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for the appeals process. In addition there will be a small number of cases where refusals are issued on the grounds of non-compliance where it subsequently emerges that a statement of evidence form has been received within the prescribed time, and such cases are reconsidered. Statistics on the numbers of cases to be reconsidered which are in progress, are not collected and could only be produced at disproportionate cost. For the year 2000 as a whole, it is estimated that up to 5,000 cases were reconsidered, or less than 5 per cent of all decisions.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many asylum claims have been rejected on the grounds of non-compliance during the last three months, both in total and as a percentage of all rejections during that period.[HL792]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Non-compliance refusals (under paragraph 340 of the immigration rules and paragraph 180F prior to October 1994) are for failure to provide evidence to support the asylum claim within a reasonable period. From November 1991 these include refusals for failure to respond to invitations to interview to establish identity under the measures introduced then.

The information requested is provided in the table.

Total Refusals 1 c 3 Refused on Non-compliance grounds 1 c 2 c 3
NumberNumberPer Cent
October 20007,2503,11043%
November 200010,1054,42544%
December 20007,8502,84036%
Total October to December 200025,20010,37541%

(1) Figures (other than percentages) rounded to the nearest five.

(2) Non-compliance refusals (under paragraph 340 of the immigration rules and paragraph 180F prior to October 1994) are for failure to provide evidence to support the asylum claims within a reasonable period. From November 1991 these include refusals for failure to respond to invitations to interview to establish identity under the measures introduced then.

(3) Outcome of initial decisions only.

Provisional figures.


Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With regard to asylum applications from (a) Sri Lanka, (b) Afghanistan, (c) Somalia, (d) Iraq, and (e) other countries, what has been the success rate 1 initially, and 2 after appeal, for the last year for which figures are available.[HL794]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The latest available information on the outcome of initial decisions is for April to December 2000 1 c 2 , and is given in the following table .

Initial DecisionsRecognised as a refugee and granted asylum%Not recognised as a refugee but granted exceptional leave%Granted asylum or exceptional leave under backlog criteria 3 %
Sri Lanka5,750400716532104
Afghanistan2,39035515655275*
Somalia11,5355,580463,6503150*
Iraq4,865770161,970415*
Other Nationalities62,2802,08532,85535,0908
Total86,8209,190119,295115,3656

1 Figures rounded to the nearest five.

2 Decision figures, by nationality, are not readily available for the period January to March 2000.

3 Cases decided under measures aimed at reducing the pre 1995 asylum application backlog.

* less than 1%.

The latest information available on the outcome of appeal by nationality is for 1998 and is given in the table below.


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Outcome of appeals (4) under the 1993 and 1996 Acts determined by adjudicators of the Immigration Appellate Authority excluding dependants, by nationality, 1998
Number of principal appellants

Appeals determined by adjudicators (5)
NationalityAppeals sent to the IAATotalAllowed%Dismissed%Withdrawn%
Somalia15255182067515
Iran3515060407551159
Iraq2545152925511020
Afghanistan15155361064--0
Sri Lanka7451,0404954851049303
Other nationalities13,56024,0451,775720,555851,7107
Total14,39525,3202,355921,195841,7707

(4) Provisonal estimated figures rounded to the nearest 5 with * = 1 or 2.

(5) Figures are based on the cases for which information is recorded on the Refugee Index.


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More up-to-date information providing a nationality breakdown of appeals is not currently available. We expect the information to be available as we move from using manual records to electronic data.

For all appeals determined by adjudicators of the Immigration Appellate Authority during April to December 2000, 17 per cent were allowed, 81 per cent were dismissed and 2 per cent were withdrawn. Note that only a proportion of applications receiving a refusal from the Home Office result in an appeal.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 14 February (WA 36-37), what was the cost to public funds of obliging 6,427 asylum applicants to travel to Liverpool and Leeds from the South East for their substantive interview.[HL845]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The information requested is not available. Costs incurred for travel to asylum interviews cannot be separated from the overall travel costs incurred by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). NASS reimburses local authorities by way of grant within unit cost limits for supporting asylum seekers. Travel costs are absorbed within these normal grant limits to local authorities therefore the cost of travel to asylum interviews is not

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available separately. Those asylum seekers who receive income support are responsible for paying their own travel costs.

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For the last year for which statistics are available:


    (a) what percentage of applicants for asylum have had their applications refused;


    (b) what was the length of time between refusal and deportation; and


    (c) whether they will provide the number of negative applicants who have not been removed from the United Kingdom.[HL946]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: During 2000, the Integrated Casework Directorate took 110,065 initial decisions on applications for asylum. Seventy-eight per cent of cases resulted in a refusal (excluding cases decided as part of the backlog clearance exercise).

Information about the interval between the final refusal of the application--including any appeal--and subsequent removal of the person concerned, and about the number of failed asylum seekers remaining in the United Kingdom is not available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

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Criminal Records Bureau Registered Bodies

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether funding will be available nationally to organisations acting as registered bodies under requirements of the Criminal Records Bureau.[HL739]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) project team is currently in touch with potential registered bodies, and we shall be prepared to consider views put to us as to whether some costs, such as those incurred by an "umbrella" body intending to act on behalf of smaller voluntary organisations, might be reimbursed.


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