The Home Office has paid out more than £21 million to migrants they have unlawfully detained, new figures reveal.

Labour’s shadow immigration minister Afzal Khan said the payouts raised “serious questions” about decision-making at the department.

The figures, unearthed by Tory former minister Andrew Mitchell in a written question to the department, relate to payments made over the past five years and total £21.2 million.

The Home Office has said that while a court may later rule an individual was unlawfully detained, it did not mean the original decision was “taken in bad faith”.

Mr Khan told the Press Association: “This Tory Government’s indefinite detention policy is not only cruel but costs hundreds of millions of pounds.

“The UK is the only country in Europe to have no time limit on detention, yet the majority of detainees are actually released into the community.

“This raises serious questions about how the chaotic Home Office makes its decisions on who to detain in the first place.”

The figures were uncovered by Andrew Mitchell (Stefan Rousseau/PA)The figures were unearthed by Andrew Mitchell (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The figures show the cost of unlawful detention claims was £3.3 million in 2016/17, £4.1 million in 2015/16, £4 million in 2014/15, £4.8 million in 2013/14 and £5 million in 2012/13.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Detention is an important part of our immigration system, helping to ensure that those with no right to remain in the UK are returned to their home country if they will not leave voluntarily.

“Decisions to detain or maintain detention are taken after careful consideration, and we are committed to treating all detainees with dignity and respect.

“The fact that a court may subsequently rule that an individual has been unlawfully detained does not necessarily mean the original decision was taken in bad faith.

“The court’s findings may only relate to part of the detention.”

  • 2016/17 - £3.3 million
  • 2015/16 - £4.1 million
  • 2014/15 - £4 million
  • 2013/14 - £4.8 million
  • 2012/13 - £5 million

Following an independent review by Stephen Shaw commissioned by the Home Secretary, the Government is taking forward three reforms – a new ‘adult at risk’ concept into decision making on immigration detention, publishing a mental health action plan and implementing a new approach to the case management of all those detained.

The Government has said that these reforms will lead to a reduction in the number of detainees and the length of time they spend in detention before removal.