Immigration detainees can be held for many reasons. They may be asylum seekers whose claims are being processed or have been refused or individuals who have overstayed their visa. Detainees are held without charge while their cases are being reviewed and the duration of their stay has no time-limit.
The UK immigration detention estate is one of the largest in Europe. Immigration detainees are held in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs), Residential and Non Residential Short Term Holding Facilities (STHFs), and Holding Rooms either based at or near ports of entry and reporting centres. Approximately 30,000 migrants entered detention under Immigration Act powers in 2013.
Immigration detention can be a very confusing and unsettling place. Detainees come from all over the world and although most detainees speak some English, few are fully literate, which means many find it challenging to read and understand the documentation explaining their detention.
Our Foreign National Detainee Advice Service provides the multi-lingual support and advice detainees need to understand the system and their situation. Our advisers understand the complex issues and support needs of detainees in the UK. We aim to give straightforward, impartial advice.
How we help
We give multi-lingual advice and support on a range of issues including:
- understanding the situation
- general immigration
- understanding and responding to UK correspondence
- finding and liaising with legal representatives
- general welfare entitlements and support available
- locating property (where possible)
- links to other agencies
- information on asylum support and Section 4 Support
- victims of trafficking