HC Deb 21 March 2001 vol 365 cc216-7W
Mr. Cox

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the longest period of detention a person at present seeking asylum in the United Kingdom has been held in detention since arrival at a port of entry in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [154453]

Mrs. Roche

The longest period of detention of an asylum seeker currently detained under Immigration Act powers and so detained since their arrival in the United Kingdom on 30 July 1999, is 600 days.

While detention under Immigration Act powers should always be for the shortest period possible, the decision on whether to maintain detention is strictly monitored and made on a case-by-case basis. Various factors influence that process, such as an individual's previous history, connections with the United Kingdom and an assessment on their willingness to comply with the terms of any temporary admission or release. In all cases detention must be considered essential for it to continue.

Ms Oona King

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy with regards to ethnic Albanians from Presevo returning to that part of Serbia after being refused asylum in the United Kingdom. [154260]

Mrs. Roche

Under the Milosevic regime, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was not prepared to accept failed asylum seekers back into the country. It has therefore not been possible to make returns to FRY (apart from Kosovo) for several years. However, following the change of government and the restoration of full diplomatic relations, we are in touch with the authorities of the FRY about arrangements for returning FRY nationals with no basis for continued stay in the United Kingdom. We shall not seek to enforce returns unless we are satisfied that to do so would be consistent with our international obligations.

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