Home Office written question – answered on 21st March 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Labour, Oxford East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the introduction of safe return reviews on (a) the resources needed by her Department to implement that policy and (b) the integration of refugees into the UK.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister for Immigration

UK Visas & Immigration already have a dedicated resource in place to undertake safe return reviews when considering settlement applications from those granted refugee status or humanitarian protection. Caseworkers must consider whether there have been significant changes in country conditions or personal circumstances which means that an individual no longer needs our protection.

Those who need protection are normally granted 5 years’ limited leave after which they are able to apply for permanent settlement. This policy has been in place since 2005 when automatic settlement for refugees was abolished, so this Government has never operated a policy of automatic settlement for refugees. All applications are carefully considered on their individual merits and we have always been clear that protection will be granted for as long as it is needed.

Refugees have and will continue to make a valuable contribution to British society but those who want to remain in the UK permanently need to complete a qualifying period of leave before obtaining the benefits of settlement. Refugees have immediate and unrestricted access to the labour market and where it is clear that they continue to face persecution or serious harm on return to their country they are normally granted settlement. Those who are no longer at risk due to significant change in the country situation are able to return home or can choose to apply to remain here under other provisions of the Immigration Rules.

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