Immigration Detention in the UK

2015 Sept 29 Migration ObservatoryMigration Observatory: This briefing provides an overview of immigration detention in the UK. It discusses the size of the UK’s detention facilities, the number of detainees, the average duration of detention, and the detention of children. Feb 2015.

Key Points

  • The UK immigration detention estate is one of the largest in Europe. From 2009 until the end of 2013, between 2,000 and 3,500 migrants have been in detention at any given time.
  • Around 30,000 persons entered detention in 2013 compared to approximately 29,000 persons in 2012.
  • The majority of immigration detainees are held for less than two months.
  • The single most common category of immigration detainees is people who have sought asylum in the UK at some point.
  • Over 1,000 children were detained for the purpose of immigration control in 2009, and this number was reduced to just under 130 in 2011. It rose to 240 in 2012, before falling to 228 in 2013 with the majority detained at the Cedars pre-departure accommodation facility, opened in September 2011.
  • In late 2014 the estimated average cost of detention was £97 per day

Silverman, Stephanie J. and Ruchi Hajela. “Immigration Detention in the UK.” Migration Observatory briefing, COMPAS, University of Oxford, UK, February 2015: