HC Deb 31 October 2002 vol 391 cc942-4W
Diana Organ

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which professional organisations were consulted prior to the decision to withdraw asylum seekers' right to work; [77118]

(2)what representations he received concerning the right of new asylum seekers to get permission to work after six months being removed (a) before and (b) subsequent to the announcement. [77117]

Beverley Hughes

We received a number of written representations regarding the general issue of asylum seekers and entitlement to work earlier this year as part of the wider consultation exercise on our White Paper, 'Secure Borders, Safe Haven'. All of these responses have been placed in the Library, with the exception of those respondents who indicated they did not wish their responses to be published.

We also received representations fromthe Refugee Council following our announcement to end the concession.

We did not consult directly with other organisations immediately prior to announcing abolition of the concession. Improved timeliness of initial decisions by the Immigration Nationality Directorate had made the concession largely irrelevant in practice so wider consultation would have added no real value.

Mr Caton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people from Cameroon applied for asylum in the UK in(a) 2000, (b) 2001 and (c) to date this year; and what percentage was successful in each year. [77628]

Beverley Hughes

The information requested is given in the table. Data on initial decisions are independent of applications data, and do not all necessarily relate to applications lodged in the same period.

Information on appeals is given in the table. Appeals in any given time period do not necessarily relate to initial decisions made by the Home Office. The figures exclude any further appeals (Immigration Appeals Tribunal, Court of Appeal, judicial review, House of Lords).

Appeals in asylum cases, brought by nationals of Cameroon, determined by adjudicators of the Immigration Appellate authority January 2000 to June 20021
Total Determined Allowed (perentage) Dismissed (percentage) Withdrawn2
2000 N/A N/A N/A N/A
2001 195 25
January to June 2002 165 29 68 2
1Provisional estimated figutrse rounded (other than percentrages) to the nearest 5. 2 Includes appeals withdrawn by the appellant and the Home Office. N/A Date are not available for 2000.

Information on asylum applications and initial decisions is published quarterly. The next publication will cover the third quarter (July to September) of 2002 and will be available from 29 November 2002 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate web site at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/ rds/immigration 1.html.

Mr. Love

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers from Sri Lanka have been repatriated in each month for the last 12 months for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [78077]

Beverley Hughes

The latest 12 months data available for removals of Sri Lankan principal asylum applicants is for April 2001 to March 2002 and are given in the table.

Month Sri Lankan Principal applicants1.2
April 2001 10
May 10
June 20
July 15
August 10
September 10
October 15
November 15
December 15
January 2002 20
February 25
March 25
1Estimates of asylum removals by nationality—principal applicants removed only. Includes persons departing 'voluntarily' after the initiation of enforcement action against them, and persons leaving under assisted voluntary returns programmes run by the international organisation for migration 2 Figures are rounded to nearest five.

I regret that it is not possible to determine how many were repatriated, as persons removed from the UK are not necessarily returned to their country of origin. Information on the destination of those removed is not collated centrally and could only be obtained by examination of individual casefiles at disproportionate cost.

Mr Love

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent information on in-country conditions in Sri Lanka have been received from(a) other Government departments and (b) other organisations relating to the return of failed Tamil asylum seekers; and if he will make a statement. [78082]

Beverley Hughes

The Sri Lanka country assessment was updated in October 2002. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British High Commission in Colombo both contribute up to date information and check the accuracy of the document. A range of other information is used from organisations such as Amnesty International, the British Refugee Council and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. A full list of the source material from these organisations can be found at annex D of the Country Assessment, which will be posted imminently on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk.