What his Department’s target is for the length of time between a person’s immigration application being refused and their being deported from the UK.
There is no set time, as each case progresses on its own merits. Wherever possible, we afford people the opportunity to arrange a voluntary return to their country of origin. If someone does not comply with our directions to leave the UK, we will pursue an enforced removal. Again, timescales will depend on individual circumstances.
I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for that response, but can she reassure me that the Department is balancing the need to tackle illegal immigration with the need to protect those who have migrated to Britain legally?
My hon. Friend is of course absolutely right to point out how important it is that we distinguish between people who settle here legally and those who are here illegally. It is vital that the compliant environment protects vulnerable people and that appropriate safeguards are built into the measures. We remain committed to tackling illegal immigration and to encouraging compliance with our rules and laws.
This weekend, we learned of an Ethiopian asylum seeker who was removed even before his application had been decided, requiring a court to order his return here. How did that happen, and is it not now time to hand asylum decisions over to an independent body?
The hon. Gentleman is absolutely wrong in the final part of his question. It is important that UK Visas and Immigration continues to work to establish people’s right to be here on a fair and humane basis. The Home Office is absolutely committed to making sure that we consider each case on its own merits.