Caroline Nokes, UK’s immigration minister, has informed MPs she is seriously considering calls to nip indefinite immigration detention in the bud.
The UK does not have a cap on its immigration detention and as a result a lot of cases involving detainees being held for months and even years.
During her appearance before the joint committee on human rights, the immigration minister revealed that she is watching the issue of immigration detention time limits very closely. She said her focus is to ensure a detention system that does not just uphold the country’s immigration policies but is also fair to those detained.
Every year, UK incurs cost in the range of 108 million pounds on about 25,000 new detainees awaiting deportation. High court judges, parliament committees, UN and local authorities have all criticized the Government’s practice of indefinite incarceration.
It has been discovered that more than 50% of detainees are eventually not deported and a good number of them have taken legal action against the country for their detention. According to a report by Home Office, three million pounds was paid by the Government to 118 people in the 2017/2018 fiscal year on the ground of unlawful detention.
A survey that involved about 200 detainees across seven different deportation centers in England revealed that more than half (about 56%) were categorized as an adult at risk, who are only supposed to be held in cases considered extreme. This result suggests breaching of Home Office guidelines on detention.
The same survey revealed that 84% are on open-ended detention – have not been told when they will be deported. About 50% of the detainees did not commit any crime, many of whom have been detained for four months on the average.
Minister Nokes appeared before the joint committee on human rights after a bill to impose a 28-day statutory limit on immigration detention received cross-party support when tabled by Labour MP Tulip Siddiq.
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