JOINT ENTRY CLEARANCE UNIT
A joint Home Office/Foreign Office study of
entry clearance (chaired by the Cabinet Office) recommended a
combined management structure to achieve greater integration between
the various elements of immigration control. That recommendation
was agreed by Ministers in May 1998 and set out in the Government's
White Paper on Immigration and Asylum, with approval given to
a working model (based on the recommendations) in October 1998.
The initiative reflects the Government's wider commitment to achieve
more joined up government, and it will offer a "one stop
shop" service to meet Ministerial objectives of a firmer,
faster, fairer entry clearance process.
The overall structure will be made up of a Joint
Entry Clearance Unit (JECU), staffed by FCO and Home Office personnel,
reporting to a Joint Management Board (JMB), chaired alternately
by FCO and Home Office officials at Director (Under-Secretary)
level and to include a representative of the Cabinet Office. The
JMB will report to both the Secretary of State for Foreign &
Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for the Home Department
through a Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) made up of Ministers
in the FCO and in the Home Office holding, respectively, the entry
clearance and the immigration portfolios, together with the Cabinet
Office Minister for the Public Service.
The new arrangements are due to be in place
by 5 June 2000.
The Committee will comprise
the Minister of State at the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office responsible for entry clearance matters;
the Minister of State at the Home
Office responsible for immigration matters;
the Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State at the Cabinet Office responsible for the public service.
Its role will be to develop entry clearance
procedures, management and strategy; to oversee the joint purpose,
aims and objectives for entry clearance operations overseas; to
co-ordinate and discuss issues of relevance to entry clearance
operations, including the use of Ministerial discretion; and to
contribute to the development of immigration policy. It is also
intended that the JMC should review the Joint Entry Clearance
Unit's performance against objectives each year.
The JMB will comprise two senior officials from
the FCO, two senior officials from the Home Office and a Cabinet
Office representative. The JMB will be responsible for overseeing
and monitoring all matters relating to the management, delivery
and performance of the entry clearance operation. The JMB will
also be responsible for ensuring that the operation of the entry
clearance system reflects Government policy as a whole and is
discharged efficiently and effectively, and that operations both
overseas and at home are linked in a way which supports this aim.
Its functions will be made up of those of the
current Migration and Visa Department and relevant elements of
IND. Its personnel will be drawn from the Home Office and FCO
in broadly equal proportions, and it will report directly to the
The Unit's purpose will be to process entry
clearance applications overseas in order to control the entry
to the UK of persons who are subject to such a requirement under
the Immigration Rules in support of UK Immigration Policy.
Its aims are:
to use entry clearance to welcome
legitimate travel to the UK;
to prevent entry to the UK of those
who do not qualify under the Immigration Rules;
to tackle abuse of immigration control
and those profiting from abuse;
to offer a service which meets Ministerial
objectives of "fast, firm and fair".
to manage the human and financial
resources involved in entry clearance in a flexible, efficient
and effective manner;
to ensure that the purpose and aims
of immigration policy, including entry clearance, take full account
of wider national interests including HMG's foreign policy objectives.