Foreign convicts awaiting deportation held in jail limbo for years

 

Foreign offenders awaiting deportation are being locked up for years after their sentences have ended in a potential breach of their human rights, the immigration watchdog has warned.

They are being held in detention, at the cost of tens of thousands of pounds to the taxpayer, because of delays in obtaining travel documents for them.

John Vine, the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, uncovered a case of an ex-offender who remained behind bars for more than three and a half years.

His findings come nearly eight years after the exposure of chaos surrounding the treatment of foreign criminals awaiting deportation cost the Labour minister Charles Clarke his job as Home Secretary.

Mr Vine urged the Home Office to mount a fresh review of its approach to removing offenders born abroad who had destroyed their passports.

After examining a sample of 27 ex-prisoners who refused to co-operate with their removal, he found they spent an average of 17 months in immigration detention centres awaiting removal at a cost of £86,000 each.

In one instance, an offender had been held for an extra 1,288 days at a cost of £211,000.

Mr Vine said he was concerned to find they were being held for “months or even years in the hope they would eventually comply with the re-documentation process”.

He said: “Given the legal requirement only to detain individuals where there is a realistic prospect of removal, this is potentially a breach of their human rights. It is also very costly for the taxpayer.”

The Chief Inspector criticised the Home Office for obtaining thousands of emergency travel documents for people Britain wants to deport, but failing to use them.

“In some instances these agreements dated back more than ten years. Many cases were not being actively progressed, leaving individuals’ immigration status unresolved. This is unacceptable,” he said.

The Home Office said it was working to improve the use of emergency travel documents which it said played a “vital role in tackling and removing immigration offenders”.

In a separate report, Mr Vine also warned that immigration enforcement officers had routinely abused their powers when they carried out raids on businesses suspected of harbouring illegal workers.

They are often authorised by a senior manager to enter premises, such as restaurants and clothing factories, and make arrests without the need for a search warrant.

Mr Vine concluded that the officers were unjustified in using the power in 59 per cent of cases he investigated. In six raids they could even have acted unlawfully because the authorising officer was senior enough or because the power was not acted upon quickly enough.

The Home Office has also come under fire from peers who protested that immigration and visa policies are damaging Britain’s standing on the world stage.

A House of Lords committee called for students to be removed from net migration targets and for a change in tone from the government in its language about immigration.

It said: “The Government must present and communicate their visa and immigration policies with a level of balance and in a tone that do not discourage those who would add to the UK’s prosperity from coming to the UK and supporting its businesses. We do not believe that this is always the case at present.”

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star