Bishop of Durham asks about government’s asylum policy

The Bishop of Durham received the following written answers on 10th October 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government how many asylum applicants have been detained this year as a result of arriving in the UK via a third country.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom (Con): Individuals are detained only for the purpose of establishing identity or where there is a realistic prospect of removal within a reasonable timescale. Individuals are not detained simply because they have arrived via a third country. All decisions to detain are taken on the basis of a careful consideration of the known facts of the individual case, including all factors arguing both for and against detention

As the method or route of arrival is not a reason to detain an individual, the requested information cannot be accurately extracted from our internal systems. To provide this information would require a manual trawl of case records and to do so would incur disproportionate cost

The Home Office does publish statistics on people in detention in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’, which can be found on The number of people in detention at the end of each year is broken down by asylum and non-asylum in table Det_01.

Asylum-related cases refer to those where there has been an asylum claim at some stage prior to or during, detention. This will include asylum seekers whose asylum claims have been refused, and who have exhausted any rights of appeal, those returned under third country provisions, as well as those granted asylum/protection, but detained for other reasons (such as criminality).

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook.


The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether asylum seeker detention centres will be able to provide a medical report within the seven-day appeals period that starts as soon as a notice of intent for removal is given to an asylum seeker.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom: All immigration removal centres (IRCs) have dedicated health facilities run by doctors and nurses which are managed by the NHS or appropriate providers. All detained individuals entering an IRC receive a healthcare screening within 2 hours of their arrival and are offered an appointment with a doctor within 24 hours. In addition, residents have full access to the 24-hour on-site healthcare team during their stay in the IRC.

Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 requires General Practitioners (GP) working in IRCs to report to the Home Office where they (i) have concerns that an individual is likely to be to be injuriously affected by continued detention or any conditions of detention, (ii) suspect that an individual has suicidal intentions or (iii) have concerns that an individual may have been a victim of torture.

All reports raised under Detention Centre Rule 35 are now considered by a single Home Office team, independent from detained casework commands. The team considers the individual circumstances of the case in line with the Adults at Risk in Detention Policy. Following due consideration, a decision will be made and relayed to the individual, the relevant IRC, and the detained casework team as to whether or not continuing detention remains appropriate. Contingency plans are in place to manage any increase in Rule 35 requests from residents, which includes scheduling extra GP appointments where necessary and proactively striving to reduce waiting times. Work is underway in collaboration with healthcare providers across the immigration removal estate to develop and refine training for on-site healthcare teams on the importance and correct use of Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001.


The Lord Bishop of Durham asked His Majesty’s Government:

  • what plans they have to publish the annual plan due to be agreed jointly by the Monitoring Committee and Joint Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda.
  • what plans they have to publish the quarterly written reports produced for the Joint Committee by the Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda.

Lord Sharpe of Epsom: The Monitoring Committee will agree an annual, resourced monitoring plan with the Joint Committee. The terms of reference and membership of the Monitoring Committee for the Migration and Economic Development Partnership have been published on

As set out in its terms of reference, the Monitoring Committee will produce a summary report for publication once a year. More details on this will be set out in due course.



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