Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2019-21 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
Asked on: 27 July 2020
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Haftom Zarhum
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that the decision by the Beersheba District Court to acquit two security officers of causing injury with grave intent in relation to the death of Haftom Zarhum, an Eritrean asylum seeker, was because the judge considered it reasonable for the defendants to have mistaken the deceased for a Palestinian terrorist.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 07 August 2020

We have not made an assessment of these reports.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 23 July 2020
Department for International Development
Detention Centres: Refugees
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, and intend to have, with UNHCR and other governments and agencies, about (1) the resettlement of refugees and migrants, and (2) preventing existing refugee camps and detention centres becoming permanent.
A
Answered by: Baroness Sugg
Answered on: 06 August 2020

The UK maintains an ongoing dialogue with UNHCR and a range of other partners, including other governments and agencies, and has a strong and constructive relationship across a range of asylum and resettlement issues.

Our resettlement schemes offer a safe and legal route to the UK for vulnerable refugees in need of protection. We work closely with UNHCR in the operation of our schemes. UNHCR is uniquely placed to identify those living in formal refugee camps, informal settlements and host communities who would benefit most from resettlement to the UK.

Refugee camps provide vital humanitarian assistance including shelter, food, clean water, and sanitation and medical services, but can also limit movement and longer-term options for refugees. As such, they are normally considered temporary measures of last resort. While camps provide a vital lifeline for many refugees a relatively small number (around 5.3 million refugees) live in them, with the majority in urban areas, informal settlements and out-of-camp individual accommodation.

We actively engaged in agreeing the Global Compact on Refugees, which aims to boost refugees’ self-reliance while simultaneously supporting generous host communities and countries – an approach that the UK has helped to develop and champion.

Q
Asked by Lord Beecham
Asked on: 21 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Housing
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in response to the £3.1 million in service credits charged to Mears Group between September 2019 and January 2020 for poor performance in its contract to provide accommodation to asylum seekers.
Answered on: 04 August 2020

We expect the highest standards from our providers and accommodation provided must be safe, habitable, fit for purpose and it is required to comply with the Decent Homes Standard in addition to standards outlined in relevant national or local housing legislation.

The AASC contracts have robust performance management system to which Providers are expected to deliver; where performance falls short of the required standard for each of the individual KPIs the failures are recorded and can result in the award of Points; which can result in a Service Credits being applied.

Mears performance is monitored closely with dedicated staff in each contract area who are in contact with the Provider on a daily basis. This is supplemented by a formal governance process which includes quarterly Strategic Review Management Boards and monthly Contract Management Groups. Service credits and subsequent improvement plans are discussed and monitored as part of this process.

Q
Asked by Dr Rupa Huq
(Ealing Central and Acton)
Asked on: 23 March 2020
Home Office
Disadvantaged: EU Grants and Loans
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to replace the EU Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) after the transition period.
A
Answered by: Victoria Atkins
Answered on: 29 July 2020

This Government has a proud history of helping the most vulnerable and is absolutely committed to continuing to ensure that victims of trafficking, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and refugees continue to get the support they need.

The Home Office will continue its work to support some of the most vulnerable children and young people in society, including its ambitious NRM Transformation Programme.

Q
(Streatham)
Asked on: 16 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Brexit
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking with her EU counterparts to help ensure that take charge requests are submitted to the UK before its departure from the EU.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 29 July 2020

The UK continues to meet its obligations under the Dublin III Regulation. It is for the requesting Member State to ensure timely submission of Take Charge Requests. We will continue to work closely with them to facilitate that process until the end of the Transition Period and will continue to process any Dublin family reunion cases that enter the system prior to 31 December.

Q
Asked by Ruth Jones
(Newport West)
Asked on: 16 July 2020
Home Office
Refugees: Evictions
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of implications for her policies of the refugee council statement of 30 June 2020 on refugee eviction during the covid-19 outbreak.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 29 July 2020

During the Covid 19 outbreak we suspended cessations to cases where the asylum claim had been determined. We are resuming cessations in a careful, phased way. The decision to temporarily extend support was undertaken in consultation with Public Health Agencies across the UK.

We are continuing to work closely with Local Authorities, Other Government Departments and Stakeholders, which includes members of the voluntary and community sector to plan an appropriate resumption to termination of statutory support, taking full account of equalities duties and potential impacts on those Service Users.

Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Home Office
Refugees: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that child refugees in (1) Greece, (2) France, and (3) other European countries, who have relatives in the UK can reunite with their families in the UK.
Answered on: 28 July 2020

This Government is committed to the principle of family reunion and to supporting vulnerable children. The UK will continue to be bound by the Dublin Regulation provisions during the transition period, allowing us to continue to transfer family reunion cases to the UK throughout 2020, and we will continue to process all family reunion requests that have been submitted but not completed under Dublin before the end of the transition period.

The UK has presented a genuine and sincere offer to the EU on a future reciprocal arrangement for the family reunion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children together with a draft legal text.

Protecting vulnerable children remains a key priority for the Government. In 2019 alone, the UK received more asylum applications from unaccompanied children than any country in the EU and accounted for approximately 20% of all reported asylum claims from unaccompanied children in the UK and the 27 EU Member States.

In 2016, the UK committed to a one-off relocation of 480 unaccompanied children from France, Greece and Italy to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. On the 21st May we announced that 478 children had transferred under the scheme. The UK welcomes the pledges made by other countries to support Greece and stand ready to offer advice and guidance to those developing their own schemes.

The UK provides a safe and legal route to bring families of refugees together through its refugee family reunion policy. This route will not be affected when we leave the EU. In the year ending March 2020, over 7,400 Refugee Family Reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those previously granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK.

Additionally, Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules provides for family members wishing to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their relationship with a family member who is a British citizen or settled in the UK, and those who are post-flight family of a person granted protection in the UK.

Grouped Questions: HL6848 | HL6849
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Home Office
Refugees: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to offer unaccompanied child refugees currently in (1) Greece, (2) France, and (3) other European countries, the option to live in the UK.
Answered on: 28 July 2020

This Government is committed to the principle of family reunion and to supporting vulnerable children. The UK will continue to be bound by the Dublin Regulation provisions during the transition period, allowing us to continue to transfer family reunion cases to the UK throughout 2020, and we will continue to process all family reunion requests that have been submitted but not completed under Dublin before the end of the transition period.

The UK has presented a genuine and sincere offer to the EU on a future reciprocal arrangement for the family reunion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children together with a draft legal text.

Protecting vulnerable children remains a key priority for the Government. In 2019 alone, the UK received more asylum applications from unaccompanied children than any country in the EU and accounted for approximately 20% of all reported asylum claims from unaccompanied children in the UK and the 27 EU Member States.

In 2016, the UK committed to a one-off relocation of 480 unaccompanied children from France, Greece and Italy to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. On the 21st May we announced that 478 children had transferred under the scheme. The UK welcomes the pledges made by other countries to support Greece and stand ready to offer advice and guidance to those developing their own schemes.

The UK provides a safe and legal route to bring families of refugees together through its refugee family reunion policy. This route will not be affected when we leave the EU. In the year ending March 2020, over 7,400 Refugee Family Reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those previously granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK.

Additionally, Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules provides for family members wishing to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their relationship with a family member who is a British citizen or settled in the UK, and those who are post-flight family of a person granted protection in the UK.

Grouped Questions: HL6847 | HL6849
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Home Office
Refugees: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number of child refugees attempting illegal crossings to the UK from mainland Europe, and (2) the impact that providing safe and legal routes would have on this number.
Answered on: 28 July 2020

This Government is committed to the principle of family reunion and to supporting vulnerable children. The UK will continue to be bound by the Dublin Regulation provisions during the transition period, allowing us to continue to transfer family reunion cases to the UK throughout 2020, and we will continue to process all family reunion requests that have been submitted but not completed under Dublin before the end of the transition period.

The UK has presented a genuine and sincere offer to the EU on a future reciprocal arrangement for the family reunion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children together with a draft legal text.

Protecting vulnerable children remains a key priority for the Government. In 2019 alone, the UK received more asylum applications from unaccompanied children than any country in the EU and accounted for approximately 20% of all reported asylum claims from unaccompanied children in the UK and the 27 EU Member States.

In 2016, the UK committed to a one-off relocation of 480 unaccompanied children from France, Greece and Italy to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. On the 21st May we announced that 478 children had transferred under the scheme. The UK welcomes the pledges made by other countries to support Greece and stand ready to offer advice and guidance to those developing their own schemes.

The UK provides a safe and legal route to bring families of refugees together through its refugee family reunion policy. This route will not be affected when we leave the EU. In the year ending March 2020, over 7,400 Refugee Family Reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those previously granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK.

Additionally, Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules provides for family members wishing to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their relationship with a family member who is a British citizen or settled in the UK, and those who are post-flight family of a person granted protection in the UK.

Grouped Questions: HL6847 | HL6848
Q
Asked by Lord Hylton
Asked on: 14 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Children
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to introduce a system of independent legal guardianship of unaccompanied migrant children in England and Wales similar to that which exists in Scotland and Northern Ireland; and what assessment, if any, they have made of the impact the introduction of such provisions would have on the system of independent advocates.
Answered on: 28 July 2020

This Government takes its responsibility for the welfare of migrant children very seriously and has stringent safeguards in place.

Local authorities are responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all unaccompanied migrant children in their area. Unaccompanied migrant children looked after by local authorities are entitled to the same services as any other looked after child. Under these arrangements, they are assessed with regard to their individual needs and provided with access to education, accommodation and health services. They will be assigned a social worker; an independent reviewing officer responsible for overseeing their care arrangements; an independent advocate responsible for accurately representing the child’s wishes and feelings; and, in many cases, they will also benefit from support from a foster carer.

In addition, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children can access legal advice from qualified legal representatives and, in England, independent advice and assistance on the asylum process and in their interactions with government agencies, is available from the Refugee Council’s Children’s Advice Project.

We are confident that these comprehensive arrangements ensure unaccompanied children are provided with the support and advice that they need. Consequently, the Government has no plans at present to introduce a system of independent legal guardianship for all unaccompanied migrant children in England and Wales.vv

Asked on: 17 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Coronavirus
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many fines have been issued to people arriving in the UK who have failed to provide an address to the authorities when requested as part of the measures to fight COVID-19.
Answered on: 28 July 2020

No Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued as a result of failure to supply an address.

Q
(Streatham)
Asked on: 15 July 2020
Home Office
Undocumented Migrants: English Channel
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 3 February 2020 to Question 1927, for what reasons there was a sixfold increase in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel in 2019 compared to the previous year.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 24 July 2020

Nobody should be making these dangerous and illegally-facilitated crossing from France to the UK. France is a safe country with a well-run asylum system.

Government departments, including the Home Office and the National Crime Agency are working around the clock, in collaboration with the French Government and the relevant international law enforcement agencies to stop these illegally-facilitated crossings. We are working to identify and dismantle the organised crime groups that facilitate illegal immigration.

Strengthened security at the juxtaposed controls between the UK and France has also meant it is increasingly difficult for migrants to enter the UK without permission, in line with the UK’s immigration rules, leading to more reckless attempts by boat.

The UK Government has returned over 155 small boats arrivals back to Europe since January 2019 using the legal channels available.

Q
(Streatham)
Asked on: 13 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Families
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 7 October 2019 to Question 293719 on Asylum: Families, how many Dublin Regulation family reunion cases have entered the system in each month since December 2019.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 22 July 2020

The UK remains fully committed to meeting its obligations under the Dublin Regulation and we will continue to accept requests for transfer until the end of the transition period.

The Home Office publishes data on the Dublin III Regulation on an annual basis (each February) in the Immigration Statistics. This includes data on the number of requests and transfers into and out of the UK, broken down by article and Member State requesting. The latest data, covering up to December 2019, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#dublin-regulation

Instructions on how to use the data can be found in the ‘Notes’ sheet.

Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish the local authorities that were consulted in advance of the implementation of the asylum dispersal scheme.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 22 July 2020

Birmingham has been a dispersal area for a number of years, and we do not hold records of the engagement held.

With regards to current dispersal, the Home Office is working in partnership with Local Authority Chief Executives through the Home Office Local Government Chief Executive group’s, who have agreed a change plan, that seeks to achieve a more equitable dispersal of asylum seekers across the UK and seeks to overcome barriers to ensure availability of service provision.

The plan has been paused in light of the current covid-19 crisis but will resume once restrictions on accommodation moves have been lifted.

Grouped Questions: 75241
Q
(Birmingham, Ladywood)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 16 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Housing
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what correspondence her Department had with Birmingham City Council in advance of the implementation of the asylum dispersal scheme.
A
Answered by: Chris Philp
Answered on: 22 July 2020

Birmingham has been a dispersal area for a number of years, and we do not hold records of the engagement held.

With regards to current dispersal, the Home Office is working in partnership with Local Authority Chief Executives through the Home Office Local Government Chief Executive group’s, who have agreed a change plan, that seeks to achieve a more equitable dispersal of asylum seekers across the UK and seeks to overcome barriers to ensure availability of service provision.

The plan has been paused in light of the current covid-19 crisis but will resume once restrictions on accommodation moves have been lifted.

Grouped Questions: 75240
Q
(Cambridge)
Asked on: 22 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Interviews
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of the potential merits of online remote asylum interviews.
Asked on: 06 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Russia
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria they use to assess the risk to the lives of LGBT asylum seekers from Russia, and in particular the Chechen Republic.
Answered on: 21 July 2020

All asylum and human rights claims from LGBT persons from Russia are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant caselaw.

The Home Office publishes Country Policy and Information Notes, which provide country of origin information, and analysis of this information, for use by Home Office decision makers assessing protection and human rights claims. Each Note provides information concerning the situation for a particular group of people in a particular country. They are published on the GOV.UK website. They are kept under constant review and updated periodically.

Decision makers also have access to the latest available country information through an information request service for specific enquiries to deal with particular issues raised in individual claims

Asked on: 06 July 2020
Home Office
Isa Muazu
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will announce the results of their review into the deportation of Isa Muazu in 2013.
Answered on: 21 July 2020

I am unable to comment on individual cases on the grounds of data protection principles and operational independence of the police and courts.

The Home Office will however always ensure that cases such as these are handled with extreme professionalism to ensure that decisions are lawfully made in the best interests of the British public.

All asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant caselaw.

The Home Office only seeks to return those whose claims have been unsuccessful and who, by definition, do not need our protection and are not at risk on return. We work closely with other countries to ensure people are returned safely and with dignity.

Asked on: 06 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Deportation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that asylum seekers deported by the UK have access to appropriate support in their destination countries.
Answered on: 21 July 2020

Returning nationals are the responsibility of the State that they are returning to. Failed Asylum Seekers who choose to return voluntarily can access the Voluntary Returns Service, which can provide help on a case by case basis, offering guidance and practical support including reintegration funds.

Asked on: 06 July 2020
Home Office
Asylum: Deportation
Lords
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information they share with the governments of destination countries for asylum seekers deported from the UK.
Answered on: 21 July 2020

When a Failed Asylum Seeker refuses to leave the UK voluntarily then administrative removal may be sought. Most receiving countries are notified of the potential return of their national if a travel document is required to facilitate the journey. Receiving countries have differing requirements for travel documentation. This is usually limited to basic personal information and supporting evidence such as a copy of a passport or birth certificate (if available) to confirm identity and nationality.

In accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention, EU and domestic law, we do not disclose information about an individual’s asylum claim to their home country or seek information in a way that could expose them, or any family who remain in that country, to serious risk.  All claimants are made aware that we do not disclose, to their own country, that they have claimed asylum in the UK, but we may share some information, for example, to help obtain travel documentation if their claim is refused

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