HC Deb 21 July 2004 vol 424 cc333-4W
Annabelle Ewing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals whose application for asylum had been rejected absconded in each year since 1997. [183924]

Mr. Browne

Information on the number of asylum applicants who have absconded is not available except by examination of individual case-files at disproportionate cost.

Some asylum seekers who have "absconded" may have left the UK voluntarily; others may remain in the UK illegally. Applicants do not always inform the Immigration Service prior to leaving the UK. The Immigration Service's policy on contact management, the means by which the Home Office maintains contact with asylum seekers throughout the process, was introduced in 2002. The policy is being continuously enhanced with the proposed expansion of the detention estate; the development of more static reporting centres; the development of Immigration Service staff based at police stations; the rollout of induction centres at the beginning of the asylum process and the piloting of biometric reporting i.e. voice recognition, tagging and kiosk based reporting.

Annabelle Ewing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances individuals are required to wear an electronic tagging device. [183925]

Mr. Browne

Individuals in England and Wales are required to wear a tag when sentenced by a court to a curfew order or curfew requirement with electronic monitoring; on release from prison under the Home Detention Curfew Scheme; or as a requirement of a bail or licence condition.

Individuals who are liable to detention under immigration legislation may, in future, be required to wear an electronic tagging device if a Chief Immigration Officer, adjudicator or judge of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission considers, following an individual risk assessment, that the risk of absconding can be managed through the additional safeguard of electronic monitoring by tagging as an alternative to detention.

Mr. Hepburn

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what support is being offered to failed Iraqi asylum seekers being returned to Iraq. [184516]

Mr. Browne

Since July last year the Home Office has been facilitating, the return of small numbers of Iraqi citizens who want to return home through the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Individuals returning under this programme receive independent advice and practical assistance with travel arrangements.

Enforced returns to Iraq will begin as soon as the practical arrangements for the returns programme are in place. The details of the returns programme have not yet been finalised, but are likely to include a package of support for returnees.

Failed asylum seekers of any nationality, including Iraqis, who are destitute and unable to leave the UK immediately for reasons entirely beyond their control may seek accommodation from National Asylum Support Service (MASS) under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Those who do not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria but who are willing to register with the IOM for a voluntary departure would be eligible for accommodation under section 4 while they are waiting for their voluntary return to be arranged.