Immigration: Indefinite Detention

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion 12:00 am, 6th March 2017

If she will make it her policy to (a) end indefinite detention for immigration purposes and (b) introduce a maximum time limit of 28 days for such detention.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister for Immigration

Detention and removal are essential parts of an effective immigration control system, but it is vital that they are carried out with dignity and respect. When people are detained, it is for the minimum time possible. We take the welfare of detainees very seriously, which is why the Government commissioned Stephen Shaw to carry out an independent review of the welfare of vulnerable people in the detention system.

Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

Numerous reports suggest that the Government are using indefinite detention. I commend to the Minister a report by Women for Refugee Women that sets out practical alternatives to detention as a routine part of asylum policy. I would like to see the reality for myself, yet my application to visit Yarl’s Wood as a party leader appears to have been blocked. Can he tell me the status of my application, which was first made in November and has, I understand, been referred to his office? When can I expect to get clearance?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister for Immigration

We are still considering that suggestion. I know that the shadow Home Secretary would like to visit as well.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister for Immigration

We did wonder whether the Home Affairs Committee would like to take precedence on a visit of that sort, but if it does not want to go, we will certainly look into the matter more urgently.

Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate

When will the current system of detention reviews be replaced by the individual removal assessments and reviews, and when will the plan for the future of the immigration and detention estate, promised by the Minister’s predecessor last year, be published?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister for Immigration

We seek to minimise the time for which people are kept in detention, and that is done for the purposes of removal. We have, of course, introduced a new adults at risk policy, which seeks to minimise the use of detention for those considered vulnerable.