HC Deb 01 July 1997 vol 297 cc77-8W
Mr. Todd

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to announce changes to the handling of asylum applications from nationals of Sierra Leone. [6546]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

In view of the current situation in Sierra Leone, we have decided to declare that that country has undergone such a fundamental change in circumstances that we would not normally order the return of a person to that country for the time being. The effect is that a Sierra Leonean national who entered the United Kingdom previously and applies for asylum within three months of this declaration being made, becomes eligible to claim social security benefits while their application is considered by my Department. No decisions will be made on asylum applications made by Sierra Leonean nationals until the situation stabilises.