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Friday, 30 November 2018

Windrush rule change sees lowest level of immigration detention in decade

Written by Hayden Smith

The number of people held in immigration detention has fallen to the lowest level since comparable records started nearly a decade ago, Government figures show.

There were 2,049 detainees at the end of September, a 41% drop compared with the same date 12 months earlier.

A Home Office report said the fall coincides with the introduction of new bail rules and "changes across the immigration system following Windrush".

In the latest period, 25,061 individuals entered the detention estate, down 9% year-on-year to the lowest level since comparable records started in 2009.

The Windrush scandal saw long-term UK residents challenged over their status, and in some cases held in detention, despite living in the country legally for decades.

The episode sparked intense scrutiny of the immigration enforcement regime, with particular focus on the so-called "hostile environment" measures.

The new statistics also reveal a decrease in returns of foreign nationals.

There were a total 10,190 enforced returns in the year to September, a fall of 18% on the previous 12 months.

These include enforced removals from detention, non-detained enforced removals and other returns from detention where the Home Office is required to facilitate or monitor the return.

Again, the department's report noted that the fall coincides with changes across the immigration system following Windrush.

The decrease was driven by a 15% drop in enforced returns of people in detention prior to their return, while enforced returns of EU and non-EU nationals were both down.

There were 15,417 voluntary returns over the same period, down from 22,130 in the previous 12 months, although the report said these figures are subject to "significant upward revision".

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Kirsty O'Connor / PA Wire.