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Sentencing Policy

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in his review of sentencing policy, extending the right of appeal against lenient sentences to include the offence of the sale of drugs to children will be considered. [134532]

Mr. Boateng: Rights of appeal, whether by the prosecution or the defence, are not within the terms of reference of the current Review of the Sentencing Framework.

However, on 24 July my hon. Friend the Minister of State announced an extension of the Attorney-General's powers to refer unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal for review. From 21 August 2000, the Attorney- General has been able to refer sentences imposed for drug trafficking offences, including the offence of supplying a controlled drug. There is no separate offence of supplying drugs to children.

R v. CICA ex parte Embling

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement concerning the implications of R v. CICA ex parte Embling. [134332]

Mr. Boateng: The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel will naturally take account of the judgment in making determinations under the tariff-based criminal injuries compensation scheme. The Government will

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consider whether greater clarification of the terms "full recovery" and "continuing disability" would be helpful in any future amendment of the scheme and its accompanying tariff of injuries.

Money Laundering

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are presently under discussion at EU level for combating money laundering through (a) the Internet and (b) electronic currency transfers. [134810]

Mrs. Roche: A number of measures have been taken or are currently under consideration in this area.

The revision of the 1991 Money Laundering Directive in the European Union, which has recently received political agreement within the Council, is designed to ensure that all member states have sufficiently robust national laws and regulations to combat the increasingly sophisticated methods used in money laundering. As such it includes specific provisions to ensure that there is adequate identification of customers where no face-to- face contact between bank staff and customer occurs, such as through Internet banking accounts. Implementation will require the development of specific regulations and guidelines in the United Kingdom, applied to all those involved in financial transactions. This is currently being considered. It has been agreed that three years after the adoption of the Directive an examination will be undertaken to consider identification measures for clients involved in non-face-to-face transactions and the possible implications for electronic commerce.

In a separate measure, the European Union has prepared a comprehensive strategy for dealing with organised crime in a paper entitled "The Prevention and Control of Organised Crime: A European Union Strategy for the beginning of the new Millennium". The measures proposed in that document, and to be taken forward in European Union Working Groups, include a specific recommendation to address the issue of money laundering on the Internet and via electronic money products.

At the joint Council of European Union Justice and Finance Ministers on 17 October, it was agreed that a range of measures be undertaken against financial crime, with particular attention to be given to measures to facilitate the fight against the abuse of new information and communications, especially the Internet and electronic transfer of money.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will assess the benefits of introducing a fast-track procedure at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate for processing applications from non-EU foreign nationals for leave to remain in the UK when they are medically qualified people filling a vacancy for a doctor or nurse within the NHS. [135531]

Mrs. Roche: From 2 May, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate and the Department for Education and Employment have revised procedures for handling all

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applications for leave to remain for the purpose of employment including those from medically qualified persons seeking employment within the NHS. This has enabled such applications to be completed within 2-3 weeks instead of three months or longer.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers the UK (a) returned and (b) accepted in (i) October 1999, (ii) November 1999, (iii) December 1999, (iv) January 2000, (v) February 2000, (vi) March 2000, (vii) April 2000, (viii) May 2000, (ix) June 2000 and (x) July 2000. [136091]

Mrs. Roche: The information requested can be found in the table. We have interpreted "returned" to mean unsuccessful asylum seekers removed under port and enforcement processes, and "accepted" to mean those asylum seekers granted refugee status or refused asylum but given exceptional leave to remain.

Asylum seekers the UK returned and accepted--October 1999 to July 2000(11)


(11) All figures have been rounded to the nearest 5.

(12) Figures relate to asylum seekers who have been removed under port and enforcement procedures.

(13) Figures include voluntary departures following enforcement action but excludes all other voluntary departures.

(14) Includes persons seeking asylum who have been granted asylum or refused asylum but given ELR.

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list, for asylum cases considered under normal procedures, for (a) each of the last 10 calendar years for which figures are available and (b) each month in 2000 for which figures are available, (i) the number of asylum claims refused, broken down by major type of refusal and (ii) the number of asylum claims refused in each type, expressed as a proportion of the total number of refusals. [136063]

Mrs. Roche: The information requested is given in the table.

The latest information on asylum is available on the Home Office internet site at rds/index.htm.

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Decisions (15),(16) on applications received for asylum in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, by type, 1989 to 2000 Number of principal applicants

Cases considered under normal procedures
Total decisionsRecognised as refugee and granted asylum (18)Not recognised as refugee but granted exceptional leave (19)Total refusedRefused asylum and exceptional leave after full considerationPercentageRefused on safe third country grounds (20)PercentageRefused under para. 340 of Immigration Rules(21)Percentage

(15) Decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made in the same period

(16) Figures rounded to the nearest 5

(17) Information is of initial decisions, excluding the outcomes of appeals or other subsequent decisions

(18) Excluding South East Asian refugees (pre 1996 only)

(19) Where it would have been unreasonable or impracticable to seek to enforce return to country of origin

(20) Figures from 1 January 1991 only. Prior to this, these refusals are included in the column 'Refused asylum and exceptional leave after full consideration'.

(21) Paragraph 340 (paragraph 180F prior 1 October 1994 and paragraph 101 prior to July 1993) of the Immigration Rules, for failure to provide evidence to support the asylum claim within a reasonable period, including failure to respond to invitations to interview to establish identity: see explanatory note 6. Figures from 1 December 1991 only. Prior to this, these refusals are included in the column 'Refused asylum and exceptional leave after full consideration'.

(22) Provisional

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