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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