EDM 696: Immigration Detention

April 2018


Dear Constituent,


Thank you for your email regarding immigration detention.

I’m afraid that, as a matter of principle and like many other MPs, I don’t sign EDMs which have no real parliamentary function and yet are very expensive to administer, however, I do understand your concerns about this issue.

The adults at risk in immigration detention policy came into force in September 2016 and was part of the Government's response to Stephen Shaw's review of the welfare of vulnerable people in immigration detention. The policy strengthens the existing presumption against detention and is based on a case by case assessment of the appropriateness of detention for each individual, depending on the nature and evidence of vulnerability available in their particular case. It involves a balancing of vulnerability considerations against immigration factors (how soon removal is due to take place, public protection concerns, and compliance with immigration law). If an individual is identified as being at risk, they will be detained only when the immigration factors outweigh the evidence of risk.

Victims of torture and of sexual or gender based violence, along with a number of other groups of vulnerable individuals, already fall explicitly within the scope of the policy. Although individuals who have suffered severe physical or psychological violence aren’t explicitly referenced, it’s highly likely that such individuals would in any case fall within its scope in that they would meet one of the other indicators of risk set out in the policy (for example, suffering from a mental or serious physical health condition). The policy is supported by the cross-cutting Detention Gatekeeper team, an important function that assesses vulnerability and provides challenge to decisions about who enters immigration detention in terms of their vulnerability and also scrutinises prospects and speed of removal.

The follow up to the independent review by Stephen Shaw into the welfare in detention of vulnerable persons started in September 2017. As part of this, Mr Shaw will be assessing the implementation of all of his earlier review recommendations.

While it’s important that the time any individual spends in immigration detention is kept to a minimum, detention remains an important part of the process for enabling returns and it’s essential the Government maintains a robust and workable immigration system which ensures that those with no right to be here leave the UK.

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.


With best wishes.

Kind regards,

Jonathan Lord.