Duration of detention

United Kingdom

Country Report: Duration of detention Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Refugee Council Visit Website

The Home Office is responsible for ordering detention of asylum seekers. It is difficult to give meaningful data on the average length of detention of asylum seekers (outside the Detained Fast Track, for which see the section on Accelerated Procedure). There is no maximum period set in law, with the exception of detention of pregnant women and children which cannot exceed 72 hours, or 7 days with Ministerial approval. While data on length of immigration detention is now available for the last six years, the figures do not distinguish between asylum seekers and other immigration detainees. Periods of immigration detention including asylum seekers and other foreign nationals vary enormously from a few days to several years.

 

During 2019, 14,424 people who had sought asylum left immigration detention. Of these:

 

Persons released from detention by duration of stay: 2016-2019

Duration of stay in detention

2016

2017

2018

2019

Less than 29 days

18,281

18,368

17,655

18,042

From 29 days to 2 months

5,271

4,675

3,480

3,623

From 2 to 4 months

3,261

3,304

2,400

1,871

From 4 months to 12 months

 

 

 

848

From 1 to 2 years

179

194

186

122

At least 2 years

29

31

14

6

Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics, Detention.

 

However, there is no cross referencing of the number of asylum detainees in 2019 and length of detention of those who had sought asylum. The longest periods of detention are usually of people awaiting deportation after having served a criminal sentence.

 

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