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Immigration Detention

  1. UK immigration legislation provides powers to detain foreign nationals in certain circumstances.1 As set out in Home Office guidance:

“Detention is most usually appropriate:

  • to effect removal
  • initially to establish a person’s identity or basis of claim
  • where there is reason to believe that the person will fail to comply with any conditions attached to a grant of immigration bail.”2

Detention must also be in accordance with Home Office policy.

  1. At the end of December 2017, there were 2,545 people in immigration detention.3 At the end of March 2023, the figure was 1,591 people.4


  1. Immigration Act 1971, Schedule 2 para 16 and Schedule 3 para 2[]
  2. Detention: General instructions, Home Office, January 2022[]
  3. See Home Office Immigration Statistics, year ending December 2022, Detention Summary Tables, Det_D03c: People in detention, by length of detention[]
  4. See Summary of latest statistics, Home Office, May 2023, para 6.1; also Immigration System  Statistics year ending March 2023 (Detention Summary Tables), DET_D02. Updated statistics were due to be published at the time this Report was going to press[]