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Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for granting leave to remain for nurses recruited from abroad to work in the NHS after their initial contract has expired. [3383]

Angela Eagle: The Immigration Rules enable nurses recruited from abroad to apply for leave to remain for a period of up to five years once they have obtained full registration with the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting and where a work permit has been issued for their employment. The work permit arrangements allow health sector employers to apply for work permits to recruit and retain nurses who are not nationals of a European Economic Area (EEA) state. These applications are granted provided the criteria set by Work Permits (UK) are met. In common with other

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work permit holders, indefinite leave to remain may be applied for and granted after four years and provided the other conditions specified in the Rules are met.

Extradition Requests

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on what date he last received an extradition request for Nadhmi Auchi; and for what reasons this request was refused; [4316]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: For good and obvious reasons, it is our policy and practice not to comment, ahead of arrest, on whether an extradition request for a particular individual has been made or is under consideration. Neither in these matters do we comment on whether and what contacts have taken place with the authorities of other jurisdictions.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many extradition requests have been received from the French authorities since 1 May 1997; how many have been acceded to; how many have been refused; and how many are outstanding. [4317]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Reliable statistics are available only from 1 January 1998. Since that date, the United Kingdom has received 22 extradition requests from the Government of France. The table provides for the same period the outcomes of French extradition requests, irrespective of when those were first received.

French extradition requests to UK since 1 January 1998

Fugitives surrendered to France7
Fugitives discharged by courts4
Withdrawn by French authorities9
Refused by Secretary of State0
Requests outstanding12

Forced Marriages

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken since the publication of the report on forced marriages. [3825]

Angela Eagle: The Government will make a full announcement in September of action taken, including reporting progress on the Joint Action Plan published by the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office last August.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who entered the United Kingdom in (a) 1998, (b) 1999 and (c) 2000. [3879]

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Angela Eagle: The numbers of unaccompanied children who sought asylum in the United Kingdom are as follows:

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the countries from which the majority of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children come to the United Kingdom. [3878]

Angela Eagle: In 2000, the majority of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children came from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (666), Afghanistan (300), Somalia (177), Sri Lanka (170) and Turkey (153).

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 3 July 2001, Official Report, column 100W, on asylum seekers, what plans he has to monitor the reasons for non-compliance of asylum applications. [4416]

Angela Eagle: No specific arrangements are currently in place systematically to follow up asylum seekers who fail to comply with procedures without providing a reasonable explanation to ascertain reasons underlying their failure to comply. We are, however, always open to looking at our procedures to ensure that any genuine difficulties applicants have in complying with them are minimised.

The main reasons for non-compliance refusals are failure, without reasonable explanation, to attend on time an interview connected with the asylum claim or to complete and return a statement of evidence form (SEF) within 10 working days. The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) does take account of events outside the asylum seeker's control, for example the serious disruption to rail travel experienced as a result of flooding earlier this year.

We have made some changes in recent months; for example, a PO box number was introduced to act as a single point for the return of all SEFs to IND, and the explanatory note accompanying the SEF has been translated into 33 of the main languages used by asylum seekers. We are monitoring the effect of these changes closely.

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people sought asylum in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years; and what proportion were refused. [3076]

Angela Eagle: Information on asylum applications and initial decisions in Northern Ireland is unavailable. Asylum applications data are not available at regional level except by port of application. The requested information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records.

IT Contracts

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the information technology contracts in excess of £500,000 let by his

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Department or its predecessor since April 1991, giving in each case the original estimated cost and original estimated completion date, the actual cost and actual completion date and the names of the contractors involved and consultants retained by his Department. [3500]

Mr. Blunkett: I shall write to my right hon. Friend and place a copy of my letter in the Library.

Police Recruitment (Lancashire)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many extra police officers have been recruited in (a) Chorley and (b) Lancashire since May 1997. [2021]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 3 July 2001]: I am informed by the chief constable that between 1997–98 and 2000–01 453 officers were recruited for the force as a whole, including 33 for the Southern Division of which 11 were deployed to Chorley.

Lancashire Constabulary—number of recruits 1997–98 to 2000–01

YearChorleyLancashire Constabulary

(16) Of the 164 officers recruited in 2000–01, 83 were Crime Fighting Fund recruits.

Wrongful Convictions

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to receive the working party report on support for prisoners who have been wrongly convicted; to whom he intends to make the report available; and who will respond to the report's findings. [3623]

Beverley Hughes: The working party will report to me later this summer. I shall look at the options that it recommends and then decide how to proceed.


Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to introduce legislation to decriminalise sexual activity between consenting men. [3461]

Mr. Keith Bradley: Sexual activity between two consenting adult males in private is not unlawful.

However, under the Sexual Offences Act 1956, as amended, such activity is not treated as taking place "in private" if it takes place when more than two persons take part or are present; or if it takes place in a lavatory to which the public have or are permitted to have access.

In "Setting the Boundaries: Reforming the law on sex offences", published in July last year, the Sex Offences Review recommended to the Government that the offences dealing with such activity should be repealed. We are considering the responses to this recommendation along with the others in "Setting the Boundaries".

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