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Written Question
UK Visas and Immigration: Asylum
24 Nov 2021

Questioner: Philip Davies (CON - Shipley)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason people who have been refused asylum are able to access accommodation and other financial support from UK Visas and Immigration.

Answered by Kevin Foster

In order to fulfil our statutory obligations to meet minimum standards for failed asylum seekers, individuals are eligible to receive support under section 4(2) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 provided they meet conditions set out in the Immigration and Asylum (Provisions of Accommodation to Failed Asylum-Seekers) Regulations 2005.

The regulations require the individuals to show they are destitute and they are taking reasonable steps to leave the UK or face a practical or legal obstacle which prevents their departure.


Written Question
Immigration: Standards
25 Oct 2021

Questioner: Taiwo Owatemi (LAB - Coventry North West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her timetable is for restoring pre-covid-19 service standards for (a) asylum applications and (b) other UK Visas and Immigration services.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Information on our immigration routes with service standards and whether they have been processed against these standards is available as part of our transparency data at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-transparency-data#uk-visas-and-immigration

We have already made significant progress in prioritising asylum claims with acute vulnerability and those in receipt of the greatest level of support, including Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children. Additionally, we are prioritising older claims and those where an individual has already received a decision, but a reconsideration is required.

The Home Office are pursuing a programme of transformation and business improvement initiatives which will speed up decision making, reduce the time people spend in the system and reduce the numbers who are awaiting an interview or decision. This includes almost doubling decision makers number to c.1,000 and providing improved training and career progression opportunities to aid retention of staff. We are continuing to develop existing and new technology to help build on recent improvements such as digital interviewing and move away from a paper-based system.

We have three key areas of focus in the short to medium term to reduce the number of outstanding asylum cases by improving efficiency and productivity, reducing the number of outstanding claims and building high performing teams. We are streamlining and digitalising the case working process to enable more effective workflow, appointment booking and decision-making. Asylum Operations are working to reintroduce a service standard and will be looking towards aligning potentially with changes being brought about by the New Plan for Immigration.


Written Question
Asylum: Employment
22 Oct 2021

Questioner: Chi Onwurah (LAB - Newcastle upon Tyne Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing asylum seekers to apply for employment in sectors which are experiencing labour shortages.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Our New Plan for Immigration works in the interests of the whole of the UK, by attracting the skills we need, whilst supporting the domestic labour market. Recognising the extraordinary circumstances business are currently facing, the Government is providing visas as a time-limited, temporary measure for the food and fuel sector.

We allow asylum seekers to work if their claim has been outstanding for 12 months or more, through no fault of their own. Those permitted to work are restricted to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

But it is important to distinguish between those who need protection and those seeking to work here, who can apply for a skilled work visa under the Immigration Rules. Our wider policy would be undermined if people could bypass work visa Rules simply by lodging unfounded asylum claims here and working whilst they are dealt with. It would also act as an incentive for more to travel into the UK via unsafe and dangerous journeys, rather than claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.


Written Question
UK Visas and Immigration: Asylum
18 Oct 2021

Questioner: Layla Moran (LDEM - Oxford West and Abingdon)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the number of asylum case applications being handled by UKVI that are yet to be resolved and were made (a) five, (b) four, (c) three, (d) two and (e) one years ago.

Answered by Kevin Foster

Information regarding the number of asylum claims which are yet to be resolved which were made in each of the last 5 years, is routinely published as part of the Government’s Transparency agenda and can be found at tables Asy_02 and Asy_03:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-and-protection-data-q2-2021

This data shows the number of asylum cases awaiting an initial decision, post decision, appeals outstanding and further leave which is broken down by case age.


Written Question
Members: Correspondence
23 Sep 2021

Questioner: Rosie Cooper (LAB - West Lancashire)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to respond to a letter from the hon. Member for West Lancashire of 23 July 2021, reference ZA57156 on an asylum claim.

Answered by Kevin Foster

A response was sent to the hon. Member on 20 August 2021. Following a discussion with the Hon. Members office, UK Visas and Immigration provided a further response on 16 September 2021.


Written Question
UK Visas and Immigration: Correspondence
21 Sep 2021

Questioner: Rosie Cooper (LAB - West Lancashire)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will provide assistance in securing a response from the Director General for UK Visas and Immigration, to the letter dated 16 June 2021 from the hon. Member for West Lancashire, regarding an asylum claim, reference ZA56772.

Answered by Kevin Foster

I apologise for the delay in responding to the hon. Member. A reply was sent on 17 September 2021.


Written Question
Immigration
13 Sep 2021

Questioner: John Redwood (CON - Wokingham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many outstanding cases her Department is considering for (a) asylum and (b) permission to be an economic migrant living and working in the UK in the most recent period for which figures are available.

Answered by Kevin Foster

a) The Home Office publishes data on asylum and resettlement in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Data on the number of asylum applications currently awaiting a decision, either an initial decision or pending further review, are published in table Asy_D03 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets. Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbooks. The latest published statistics relate to data up to the end of June 2021.

Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the ‘asylum and resettlement summary tables’. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on asylum and resettlement.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

(b) This information requested is routinely published as part of UKVI Transparency data.

The current data is available for Quarter 2 of 2021 and can be found in the attached link:

Visas and Citizenship data: Q2 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Data for Q3 2021 will be published in the next transparency data release.


Written Question
Asylum: Afghanistan
6 Sep 2021

Questioner: Dan Carden (LAB - Liverpool, Walton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to establish humanitarian visas and a means for people to apply for those visas from Afghanistan to reduce dangerous journeys for people seeking asylum.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

On Wednesday 18 August, the Government announced the launch of a new bespoke Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), to welcome up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK. The scheme will focus on those most at risk and in its first year will resettle up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans. This scheme delivers on the Government’s commitment in the New Plan for Immigration to create safe and legal routes for those in fear of persecution and oppression in their home country. The Government is working urgently to open this route and further details will be announced in due course on gov.uk.

The new route is separate from, and in addition to, the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which offers any current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat to life priority relocation to the UK.


Written Question
Asylum: Afghanistan
6 Sep 2021

Questioner: Fleur Anderson (LAB - Putney)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing humanitarian visas for people seeking asylum from Afghanistan to avoid people making dangerous journeys to pursue asylum.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

On Wednesday 18 August, the Government announced the launch of a new bespoke Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), to welcome up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK. The scheme will focus on those most at risk and in its first year will resettle up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans. This scheme delivers on the Government’s commitment in the New Plan for Immigration to create safe and legal routes for those in fear of persecution and oppression in their home country. The Government is working urgently to open this route and further details will be announced in due course on gov.uk.

The new route is separate from, and in addition to, the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which offers any current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat to life priority relocation to the UK.


Written Question
Asylum
28 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Bishop of St Albans (Bishops - Bishops)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the number of safe routes into the country for those seeking asylum.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

Since 2015 we have resettled more than 25,000 refugees through safe and legal resettlement routes direct from regions of conflict and instability - around half of whom were children. In addition to this our current family reunion policy has welcomed over 29,000 individuals to the UK in the last 5 years. The UK continues to welcome people through the global UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), as well as through the Community Sponsorship and Mandate Resettlement Schemes and our refugee family reunion policy. This commitment, alongside a fair but firm asylum system, will ensure we continue to offer safe and legal routes to the UK for refugees in need of protection.

The New Plan for Immigration will strengthen safe and legal protection routes to the UK by ensuring our resettlement schemes are accessible and fair, resettling refugees from countries where the need is greatest, increasing the integration support of those we welcome, increasing opportunities for community participation in resettlement, supporting access to work visas for highly skilled displaced people and providing more flexibility to help people in truly exceptional and compelling circumstances.


Written Question
Asylum: Greek Islands
27 Jul 2021

Questioner: Stephen Flynn (SNP - Aberdeen South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will publish information on which legal routes are available to asylum seekers in camps in Greece’s Aegean Islands who are seeking to be reunited with family in the UK.

Answered by Chris Philp

The UK already provides a safe and legal route to bring families together through its refugee family reunion policy. The current refugee family reunion policy allows a partner and children under 18 of those granted protection in the UK to join them here, if they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country. Over 29,000 visas have been issued under this policy in the last 5 years. Under the family reunion policy, we do not restrict where someone has to be in order to make an application.

As set out in the New Plan for Immigration, the Government committed to review safe and legal routes to the UK and has a statutory duty to conduct a public consultation on family reunion for UASC in the EU. We have now completed the consultation as part of the wider consultation on the New Plan for Immigration. We have carefully considered the responses and a report, laid in Parliament on 22 July 2021, on the outcome of the review of safe and legal routes confirms the UK wants to be bold and ambitious in the safe and legal routes it provides.

New Plan for Immigration - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Written Question
Immigration and Visas: Human Rights
20 Jul 2021

Questioner: Alyn Smith (SNP - Stirling)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that citizens of (a) Belarus and (b) other countries where people who oppose political regimes are at risk of human rights abuses will be offered the opportunity to renew their UK visas or UK immigration status without having to return to their home country to make the necessary application to her Department.

Answered by Kevin Foster

As part of the introduction of the points-based system, we have enabled applicants to switch between immigration routes without having to leave the UK. This applies to all nationals.


Information on those immigration routes, which must be renewed from the home country of the applicant, is available on our website at:

Application to extend stay in the UK: FLR(IR) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

There is also the option to make an asylum claim in person, whilst in the UK, at an application centre. Further information on the asylum process, as well as locations at which an asylum claim can be made, is available here:

Claim asylum in the UK - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)


Written Question
UK Visas and Immigration: Correspondence
14 Jun 2021

Questioner: Rosie Cooper (LAB - West Lancashire)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will assist the hon. Member for West Lancashire in obtaining a response to her letter dated 9 April 2021 to the Director General of UK Visas and Immigration on a constituent's asylum application, reference ZA56216.

Answered by Chris Philp

I apologise for the delay. UK Visas and Immigration, MP Account Management team responded on 7 June 2021.


Written Question
UK Visas and Immigration: Correspondence
14 Jun 2021

Questioner: Rosie Cooper (LAB - West Lancashire)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will assist the hon. Member for West Lancashire in obtaining a response to her letter dated 9 April 2021 to the Director General of UK Visas and Immigration on a constituent's asylum application, reference ZA56228.

Answered by Chris Philp

I apologise for the delay. UK Visas and Immigration, MP Account Management team responded on 7 June 2021.


Written Question
China: Uighurs
20 May 2021

Questioner: Afzal Khan (LAB - Manchester, Gorton)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking with the Home Secretary to ensure that Uyghurs who have been persecuted in China are able to find refuge in the UK.

Answered by Nigel Adams

The Home Office publishes guidance used by UK Visas and Immigration to make decisions in asylum and human rights applications. Our assessment of the situation for Uyghurs is set out in our Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on opposition to the state in China, available on gov.uk at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/china-country-policy-and-information-notes