§ Mr. Corbyn
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken to reduce the number of asylum applicants held in custody; and if he will make a statement.351W
§ Mr. Charles Wardle
Only a very small proportion of people who have sought asylum are detained. The available information shows that on 17 March 1994 a total of 654 people who had sought asylum at some stage, including those awaiting removal or the determination of an appeal, were held in detention. It is Immigration Service policy to grant temporary admission wherever possible, and detention is authorised only where there is no other alternative and where there are good grounds for believing that the person will not comply with the terms of temporary admission. Account is taken of all relevant circumstances, including the means by which the person arrived in this country, any past immigration history and the person's ties with the United Kingdom.
Detained cases are reviewed regularly and if there is any indication that asylum is likely to be granted then the person is released immediately.
One of the aims of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 is to ensure that asylum applications are resolved more quickly. The Act provides that anyone who is refused asylum may appeal against the decision, and that those who do appeal may seek bail from the independent appellate authorities.