The Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act 1987 (ICLA)
provides for a charge (currently £2,000) to be levied on
the owners or agents of a ship or aircraft or relevant operator
of an international through train (but not including Le Shuttle
service) where a person requiring leave to enter (ie not a British
Citizen or other national of the European Economic Area) arrives
in the UK without a valid passport or other acceptable travel
document, or without a valid visa where one is required.
Details of the cumulative totals of charges
incurred and outstanding by year since the inception of the ICLA
are attached at Annex A.
A breakdown of charges incurred, waived paid and outstanding over
the last five years is attached at Annex B*.
In 1995, in their report (HC 204 Session 1994-95)
entitled "Entry into the United Kingdom" the National
Audit Office, amongst other things, examined the progress on debt
recovery under the ICLA and recommended that "the Service
should continue to pursue a pro-active debt recovery strategy,
with a view to reducing the amounts outstanding more rapidly".
Annexes A and B show a progressive fall, year on year, in the
amount of monies outstanding. In 1995 21 per cent of the cumulative
debt was still outstanding. This has fallen to less than 6 per
cent by 31 December 1999.
Upon commencement of Section 40 of the Immigration
and Asylum Act 1999 the ICLA will be repeated. Commencement is
likely to June 2000.
Amongst other things, Section 40 will extend
carrier liability provisions in respect of inadequately documented
passengers (IDAs) to the owners or operators of road passenger
vehicles. These provisions are aimed at countering the rising
number of IDAs arriving by bus/coach (2,500 at Dover alone in
1999) by making their owners or operators liable to a charge (£2,000)
in respect of each IDA brought here.
Section 42 of the Immigration and Asylum Act
1999 introduces a (new) power to detain transporters in connection
with the recovery of charges resulting from the carriage of IDAs
to the UK. Carriers/operators will continue to have two separate
opportunities to make representations against disputed charges
but if they are unsuccessful payment is expected without further
The majority of carriers meet their obligations
under these carrier liability provisions, and detention powers
will only normally be used after all reasonable efforts to persuade
them to settle their debt have failed.
No transporter detained under Section 42 for
non-payment of such charges can be sold without the leave of the
Court, or where payment is made within 84 days of the transporter
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