§ Mr. Corbyn
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions he or his Ministers or officials have held with the UNHCR on the situation facing people seeking refuge from Algeria; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what discussions he has held with the Refugee Council, the Refugee Legal Centre, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and others concerning the situation facing asylum seekers from Algeria; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
In the six-month period between 1 July and 31 December 1997, a total of 435 applications for asylum in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, were lodged by nationals of Algeria. During the same period, a total of 265 decisions, excluding dependants, were made on asylum applications lodged by Algerian nationals. Of these, 80 (30 per cent.) were to grant asylum,276W five (2 per cent.) were to refuse asylum but grant exceptional leave and 180 (68 per cent.) were to refuse both asylum and exceptional leave.
Provisional data indicate that, during the period 1 July to 31 December 1997, a total of 68 Algerian asylum seekers were removed or made voluntary departures from the United Kingdom. Of these, a total of 13 persons, who had been refused asylum in the United Kingdom, were removed to Algeria. During the same period, a further five asylum seekers were recorded as having made a voluntary departure to Algeria. Many of the others have been removed, or have made voluntary departures, to safe third countries. The available data exclude any in-country applicants who make a voluntary departure prior to the initiation of enforcement action.
All asylum applications are considered in accordance with the United Kingdom's international obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, and the risk to the individual is assessed on its merits. In addition, if the granting of asylum is not appropriate, consideration is given to whether there are compelling humanitarian reasons to grant permission to remain in the United Kingdom exceptionally. In cases of applications from Algerian citizens, particular care is being taken in the light of the current situation in Algeria.
Both Ministers and officials receive and take account of advice and information from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on this. Information provided by non-governmental organisations is regularly reviewed by the Country Information and Policy Unit of the Asylum Directorate. Although no specific meetings have been held to discuss the situation in Algeria with members of the various refugee groups, such as the Refugee Council, they have expressed their concerns to Ministers in a wider context. In addition, we have invited a number of organisations closely connected with the asylum determination process to discuss country information issues.
The cases of all rejected asylum seekers from Algeria will be reviewed individually just before removal, in the light of detailed advice from UNHCR, and to take account of the latest information and advice from other sources. No one will be returned to Algeria unless it is reasonable to believe that they could be so safely. A declaration of upheaval under the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 will be made if the situation in Algeria is such as to constitute an upheaval throughout the country.
§ Mr. Corbyn
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Algerian asylum seekers are currently held in detention under immigration law; and if he will make a statement on his policy in this respect. 
§ Mr. Mike O'Brien
A total of 53 Algerian nationals who had sought asylum at some stage were recorded as being detained solely under Immigration Act powers as at 5 January 1998 (port cases) and 6 January 1998 (after entry cases). Detention is used sparingly and only where there are good grounds for believing that a person will not comply with the terms of temporary admission, regardless of nationality.277W
§ Mr. Corbyn
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for each year since 1990(a) the number of asylum applications by Algerian nationals, (b) number granted asylum, (c) the number given exceptional leave to remain, (d) the number returned to Algeria and (e) the number removed to other countries. 
§ Ms Drown
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will review the treatment of asylum seekers from Algeria; 
(2) what plans he has to declare Algeria a country of upheaval under the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996. 
Applications1 received for asylum in the United Kingdom from nationals of Algeria, excluding dependants, initial decisions2,3, and removals/voluntary departures, for the years 1990 to 1997 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 Asylum applications1 25 45 150 275 995 1,865 715 715 Decisions2.3 5 5 20 140 440 745 1,880 765 Recognised as a refugee and granted asylum * n/a * 10 20 15 30 105 Not recognised as a refugee but granted exceptional leave to remain 5 * 5 10 10 10 15 5 Total refused * 5 10 115 410 720 1,835 655 Removals n/a n/a 25 51 90 145 198 162 port4.5 n/a n/a 14 18 37 84 101 86 in country6.7 n/a n/a 11 33 43 61 97 76 1 Provisional figures rounded to the nearest 5 with "*"= 1 or 2 and n/a = not available. 2 Decision figures do not necessarily relate to applications made in same year. 3 Information is of initial decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions 4 Includes any voluntary departure up to and including notification of the decisionon the asylum application but excludes any subsequent departure. 5 Data for 1995 to 1997 taken from December 1997 extract of the ALU system. 6 Includes removals under enforcement powers and those departing voluntarily following enforcement action but excludes all other voluntary departures. 7 Data for 1995 to 1997 taken from December 1997 extract of the HOMES system.