HC Deb 08 December 1998 vol 322 c117W
Mr. Canavan

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are currently being detained in Scotland; and how many in each place of detention. [62903]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

As at 30 November 1998, 24 people were held under Immigration Act powers in Scottish penal establishments. All of them had claimed asylum at some stage.

The number in each place of detention is as follows:

  • Her Majesty's Prison, Inverness: 2
  • Her Majesty's Prison, Aberdeen: 10
  • Her Majesty's Prison, Edinburgh: 6
  • Her Majesty's Prison, Gateside: 5
  • Her Majesty's Prison, Perth: 1.

Mr. Clappison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate he has made of the number of pre-July 1993 asylum applicants with a criminal conviction resulting in a sentence of less than 12 months' imprisonment who will benefit from the backlog procedure; [63057]

(2) pursuant to the answer of 3 December 1998, Official Report, column 249, if every case involving the commission of a criminal offence by an asylum seeker is notified to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. [63098]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

Information is not held centrally on the number of asylum seekers who have been convicted of offences punishable with imprisonment and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

As outlined in the White Paper, "Fairer, Faster and Firmer—A Modern Approach to Immigration and Asylum", where an asylum application was made before the coming into force on 1 July 1993 of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993, delay in itself will normally be considered so serious as to justify, as a matter of fairness, the grant of indefinite leave to remain.

This will not apply, however, to applicants whose presence here is not conducive to the public good, for example on the basis of their conviction for a serious criminal offence. In general, any offender receiving a custodial sentence of 12 months or more will be excluded from benefiting from the backlog procedure. Other offenders may be excluded if their record is serious enough. Nor will it apply to any application for asylum made after the commencement of removal or deportation action against the applicant.