Caroline Nokes, the immigration minister has told MP’s she is looking “very closely” at requests to end indefinite immigration detention.
There are numerous cases of detainees being held for months and sometimes years because of the UK’s policy of having no cap on immigration detention.
Nokes said as she appeared before the joint committee on human rights: “I’m looking very closely at the issue of time limits to understand how we can best have a detention system that is both fair to those being detained but also upholds our immigration policies and can act as a deterrent to those who seek to frustrate those policies.”
It currently costs the government £108m a year to detain its 25,000 detainees awaiting deportation.
High court judges, local authorities, parliamentary committees and the UN have heavily criticised the practice of indefinite incarceration.
Over half of all detainees are ultimately released back into British society, not deported. Some have gone on to take legal action over their imprisonment costing the government £3m in the 2017-18 financial year.
Nokes’s appearance comes after the Labour MP Tulip Siddiq tabled a 10-minute rule bill to impose a statutory time limit of 28 days on immigration detention. The bill received cross-party support.
In the year ending in March, 26,541 individuals entered detention centres, down 8% from the previous year, and 27,429 left detention, down 5%; with the UK has one of the largest immigration detention systems in Europe.
There were 2,400 people at the end of March being held in detention centres excluding prisons, a fall of 18% compared to 12 months earlier. Additionally, 358 individuals were held in immigration detention in prisons.
The courts have held that detention with a view to removal is lawful only if there is a realistic prospect of this occurring within a reasonable period. There is currently no statutory limit on immigration detention.
If you require confidential immigration advice contact our specialist team on 0208 767 5005.
Thompson & Co Solicitors