More restrictions on refugee rights

Refugees will only be granted temporary leave to remain rather
than permanent residency while the government reviews the situation
in their countries of origin, under the Home Office’s five-year
strategy announced this week.

The department’s plans for asylum and immigration state that
refugees would only be granted indefinite leave if the situation in
their country had not improved after five years.

“We would be very concerned if someone who has been accepted as
a refugee has to live through five years of uncertainty until the
UK government confirms they can remain here permanently,” said
Maeve Sherlock, chief executive of the Refugee Council.

The government also plans to detain more asylum seekers whose
claims have failed and create 300 new places in detention centres
by 2007.

A Commons’ public accounts committee report on asylum decisions
published this week states that, according to National Audit Office
estimates, up to £500m might have been saved if the Home
Office had been able to put in place sufficient staff and
infrastructure to meet the large rise in asylum applications in
1999 and 2000.


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