A British parliamentary committee has called for an end to indefinite detention in immigration centres and for detention to be authorised independently of the Home Office.
According to the Guardian, around 27,000 people a year are detained in connection with immigration and are usually held without being given a date for release or deportation.
“Indefinite detention causes distress and anxiety. [It] can trigger mental illness and exacerbate mental health conditions,” a highly critical report by parliament’s joint committee on human rights (JCHR) has said.
“The lack of a time limit … reduces incentive for the Home Office to progress cases promptly, which would reduce both the impact on detainees and detention costs.”
The UK is the only European country that does not impose time limits on immigration detention.
In the last two years, at least two Tamil refugees have successfully sued the Home Office for wrongful detention during their asylum application process.