Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|22 Jan 2018, 5:43 p.m.||Immigrants: Detainees||Seema Malhotra|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of safeguards to ensure that (a) vulnerable people diagnosed with a mental health condition and (b) victims of torture are not held in immigration removal centres.
Answer (Caroline Nokes)
Detention is an important part of a firm but fair immigration system, helping to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country if they will not leave voluntarily. There is an underpinning presumption in immigration policy that a person will not be detained. Immigration detention is used sparingly and for the shortest period necessary.
When a vulnerable individual is considered for immigration detention, that consideration takes place in line with the adults at risk in immigration detention policy. The policy came into force in September 2016 and was part of the Government’s response to Stephen Shaw’s review of the welfare of vulnerable people in immigration detention. Victims of torture and individuals suffering from a mental health condition are amongst the groups of individuals who are protected by this policy.
Each case is decided on its own merits, on the basis of available evidence. Vulnerable individuals are detained only when immigration control factors – removability, public protection and compliance with immigration law – in their particular case outweigh the evidence of their vulnerability.
All detention decisions are subject to review by the Home Office Detention Gatekeeper, which is an internally independent function.
It is not possible for an individual to be detained having been assessed as unsuitable for detention by the Detention Gatekeeper, whether it be on grounds of mental health, as a victims of torture or a victim of modern slavery.
The Government considers that the adults at risk policy is an effective safeguard against the inappropriate detention of vulnerable people.
Once detained the Home Office has additional safeguards in place to ensure that vulnerable people do not remain in detention longer than is necessary or appropriate. Since February 2017 Case Progression Panels have been internally reviewing cases every three months to ensure case progression towards return.
From the 15 January 2018, the Secretary of State has a duty to refer individuals to the independent Immigration and Asylum Tribunal for consideration of bail four months from the point of detention of the last Tribunal consideration of bail and every four months thereafter. This duty does not extend to individuals detained for deportation or on national security grounds.
The follow up to the independent review by Stephen Shaw CBE into the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons started on 4 September 2017. As part of this stocktake Mr Shaw will be assessing the implementation of all of his earlier review recommendations.