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Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention in the UK

Categories: Publications,Statelessness

This new report by the European Network on Statelessness discusses the detention of stateless persons in the UK and highlights key concerns about the Government’s approach. Concerns include, in particular, unduly long periods of detention and repeated instances of detention of stateless persons. The report documents the experiences of people like Ousman, who was subject to immigration detention for three and a half consecutive years, and Muhammed, who was detained several times for a total period of nearly four years.

ENS Detention










The report makes numerous recommendations, such as:

  • The Government should properly consider (the risk of) statelessness in all decisions relating to detention, from the initial decision to detain and all subsequent decisions to maintain detention, in particular in relation to the consideration of whether removal is imminent.
  • The Government should not detain persons who have a statelessness application pending, unless detention is necessary and no adequate alternatives exist.
  • The Government should establish and enforce reasonable limits on efforts to confirm the lack of nationality of detained (and non-detained) persons applying to remain in the UK based on their statelessness. After repeated rejections or prolonged non-response, statelessness should be assumed.
  • The Government should establish a referral mechanism requiring detention officials to refer potentially stateless detained persons to the statelessness determination team.
  • The Government should adopt a 28-day limit on immigration detention generally.


Asylum Aid’s Legal Policy Officer, Cynthia Orchard, and Legal Services Manager, Ian Kane, contributed to this report and we will take forward the report’s recommendations in our advocacy with the Government.