40% of People Held at UK Immigration Removal Centre are "Vulnerable" According to Studies

08 Jun 2019 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A recent report into the people held at Scotland's only UK immigration removal centre found that almost 40% of the adults detained are classed as vulnerable. The Dungavel building in South Lanarkshire holds people who are awaiting deportation after their attempt to apply for a UK work permit was unsuccessful. The Home Office guidance suggests that it is not appropriate to detain or hold vulnerable people, and yet almost half of the people in the centre have been classified as vulnerable in the latest report.

According to a spokesperson, detention in response to UK work permit and visa issues is only used "sparingly" and when absolutely necessary. However, campaigners against the harsh immigration UK conditions in Dungavel today have said that the adults-at-risk policy provided by the Home Office isn't fit for purpose. Groups are requesting that the policy should be reviewed.

When Dungavel opened as a detention centre in 2001, it was established by the Home Office. It now runs as a private company, and similar to other immigration centres around the UK, it has been criticised by campaigners. Detainees and people who have visited the location in the past say that immigrants are treat like prisoners. There are also concerns about the length of time a person may be forced to remain at the detention centre.

One man, Zacharie Cyriaque Ayard-Nzapajima was detained at Dungavel after being classed as vulnerable. According to Zacharie, after a medical test, he was told that he was not medically fit to remain in prison. However, he was held at Dungavel for a period of three weeks. Worries about the methods used to detain vulnerable visa seekers and people applying for UK visas were raised by the Inspectorate of Prisons in 2015.

Several charities working with immigrants today have said that the adults at risk policy is not working. Many people leaving the detention centres today claim that they have experienced traumatic experiences while held there.