Asylum seekers and failed asylum seekers in Northern Ireland could lose contact with lawyers and their support networks, it is feared.
Under Home Office policy, they will lose the choice of whether to stay in a prison in Northern Ireland or move to a detention centre in England or Scotland.
Northern Ireland has no detention centres and campaigners fear that the claimants could be moved to the mainland against their will.
Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director for Amnesty International, said: “It’s a cause of concern, particularly where people have been here for a long time and have family and friendship networks and lawyers in Northern Ireland.”
A Home Office spokesperson said it was not viable to build an immigration detention centre in Northern Ireland because of the small number of people detained there.
From March 2005 to February 2006, the immigration service ordered 37 asylum seekers and 67 other immigration detainees to be held in prisons in Northern Ireland.