HC Deb 09 June 2004 vol 422 cc421-2W
Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on returning failed asylum seekers to Iraq. [174079]

Mr. Browne

We seek to remove all failed asylum seekers and illegal immigrants wherever possible. All asylum and human rights claims are considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Should a claim be refused and any appeal before the independent Immigration Appellant Authority be unsuccessful, it means for that individual it is safe to return.

We have reached agreement with the Coalition Provisional Authority to begin enforced returns to Iraq. We are working to finalise the practicalities of the enforced return programme, which we will implement as soon as the necessary arrangements are in place.

In addition since July last year the Home Office has been facilitating, without incident, the return of small numbers of Iraqi citizens who want to return home through the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme operated on our behalf by the International Organisation for Migration.

Mr. Battle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest estimate is of the number of asylum seekers who have failed the appeal process(a) in the UK and (b) in Leeds. [174247]

Mr. Browne

The information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Information on asylum appeals are published quarterly, copies of these publications and others relating to general immigration to the UK are available from the Library and from the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigrationl.html.