General

United Kingdom

Country Report: General Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

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When asylum seekers are detained, they are detained in immigration removal centres (IRC), usually under the same legal regime and in the same premises as other people subject to immigration detention. 51% of immigration detainees in 2018 were asylum seekers. The centres consist of 7 IRC and 3 short-term holding facilities (STHF). The published statistics now include immigration detainees held in prisons; in 2019 there were 1,312 immigration detainees held in prison at some point during the year.

 

Detention during the asylum decision-making process is not usual. Most asylum seekers whose claim has not yet been decided are at liberty on a status known as immigration bail. The main exception is in accelerated procedures. In Dublin and non-suspensive appeal cases, although the individual is not always detained, detention is more common than in the regular procedure.

 

If the person is already in immigration detention when they claim asylum, whether they are then released will be determined by whether criteria for detention continue to exist after the asylum claim has been made. These are the criteria set out in the section on Grounds for Detention. Making an asylum claim does not of itself secure release. Alternatively, if in the judgment of the Home Office official who screens the asylum application, the claim is capable of being decided quickly, the applicant may be transferred into fast track detention. This means remaining in immigration detention, but may mean a transfer to a different centre.

 

Asylum seekers may also be detained after their claim has been refused, in preparation for removal. Most of the content of this section therefore refers to asylum seekers who are detained in preparation for removal, after final refusal of their claim.

 

The number of people who had sought asylum at some time and have been detained (“asylum detainees”) in recent years is as follows:

 

“Asylum detainees” in the United Kingdom: 2014-2019

 

Detentions throughout the year

Detained at the end of the year

2014

14,056

1,698

2015

14,751

1,250

2016

13,230

1,626

2017

12,916

1,508

2018

12,637

1,085

2019

14,086

944

Source: Home Office, Immigration statistics, Detention Tables dt1 and dt13. Note that this does not necessarily mean detention of asylum seekers during the course of the procedure.

 

Guidance was published in 2017 relating to asylum claims made from detention.[1] It is aimed at those considering asylum claims from people detained at the point of making their claim, as well as considering the detention of people during their claim. It does not replace or replicate other guidance on consideration of asylum claims; it is complementary to other guidance.

 

 


[1]Home Office, Asylum claims in detention, September 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/2rwD2HN

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection