Removal of Failed Asylum Seekers

Home Department – in the House of Commons on 17th January 2022.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

What progress she is making on removing failed asylum seekers from the UK; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

Our new plan for immigration will overhaul our asylum system and speed up the removal of failed asylum seekers. The Bill will introduce new measures to prevent repeated last-minute, meritless claims that are designed to frustrate proper removal. We are determined to return people who have no right to be here and arrive in the UK illegally.

Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

I thank the Minister for his response. This country has a proud record of accepting refugees and treating asylum seekers fairly, and long may that continue. Does he agree that, in order to retain confidence in our system and to avoid it being a draw to people taking very dangerous and unnecessary journeys, asylum seekers must have their cases considered very quickly, and, if they have not established a right or a need to be here, they should be removed quickly?

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

My hon. Friend gets to the nub of the issue by saying that we must have a fair but firm system. Returns have undoubtedly been hard hit as a result of the pandemic, and we want to see a quick recovery from that. The issue of attrition is also important. We are addressing that through the Nationality and Borders Bill, and I appreciate his support for that. On returns agreements, we need, of course, to secure more. Those with India and Albania prove exactly what can be done.

Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

Hundreds of people in my constituency of Enfield North are residents in this country on the European Community Association agreement visa, also known as the Ankara agreement, which allows them to set up businesses in this country. When they try to extend their stay in this country, the majority of them are not able to renew their visas. There have been hundreds of emails in relation to this from across the country. The delays in some cases are 14 months, and they mean that those people are unable to renew business leases and housing and residential contracts. What assurances can the Minister give to my constituents whose lives are at a standstill that these timings will be reduced and that they will receive a timely response to their applications?

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her question. She will know that Ministers in the Home Office are always keen to try to assist in these matters wherever possible. If she could provide me with the specifics, I would be very happy to take those cases away and have a look at them.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

Does the Minister agree that one of the problems with genuine victims of human trafficking is that they are lumped together with asylum seekers? The quicker we can return bogus asylum seekers, the quicker we can get help to the genuine victims of human traffickers.

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who raises an important point. It is fair to say that the Nationality and Borders Bill and the new plan for immigration focus very much on returning those who have no right to be here, while ensuring that those who require our protection and are genuinely in need of support do get that support as quickly as possible.