|Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill
Mr. Malins: The hon. Gentleman and I strongly agree on that point. Does he further agree that such Bills will be considered properly and carefully only if, as well as Special Standing Committee, a Select Committee can spend time considering the clauses and hearing evidence in the informal way that Select Committees do?
Simon Hughes: I agree. I think that I have already said that some EU countries do just that. Their Governments produce Bills that get a formal First Reading, and are then passed to an inquiry body made up of parliamentarians who take evidence. It is only when all parties involved have certified that the Bills have gone through that process adequately that they come back to the Floor of the House for parliamentary scrutiny. I am sure that we can learn from such systems when it comes to modernising our Parliament.
Ms Winterton: I shall be brief, as I am sure that hon. Members want to move on to other parts of the Bill. I assure them that the clause and those that follow it are largely equivalent to the sections in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 that restrict rights of appeal. The clauses, however, are arranged differently to suit the revised layout of immigration decisions and grounds for appeal.
The only further restriction is in respect of cases in which the application is for a purpose that is not permitted under the immigration rules. In those cases, the adjudicator would have very limited jurisdiction. The vast majority of applicants can hope for nothing but a recommendation, which is not even binding on the decision maker.
Let me give some examples of the effects of the amendment. It would remove subsection (2)(c), which removes the right of appeal for persons applying to remain
I shall give the example of a working holidaymaker who applied under that scheme to come to the UK for two years, and knew that limit before applying. There is no appeal against not extending that time because the working holidaymaker scheme had finished.
Different circumstances might apply: suppose that the person became engaged and wanted to apply under the fiancee application in the UK, although the proper thing to do would be to go back and apply from abroad. If that person then wanted to become a student, he or she could apply under that category but not under the working holidaymaker scheme, because there is no way that the appeal could be heard under that scheme.
Amendment No. 405 would remove subsection (2)(d), which removes the right of appeal for persons who apply for leave to
that is not covered by the immigration rules. That could apply to a case in which someone wanted to come and supervise a relative who was studying here but was having difficulty completing their studies.
Column Number: 417Under the immigration rules, the relative would not be able to do that, but they might be granted permission by the immigration and nationality directorate at the Secretary of State's discretion. In those circumstances, we would not want an adjudicator to review that discretion, but the decision could be judicially reviewed.
We are talking about cases in which appeals will not be allowed because they, effectively, do not come within the immigration laws. There is nothing sinister about the provision. I accept that the amendments are probing, and I hope that my explanation persuades the hon. Member for Woking to withdraw the amendment.
Mr. Gerrard: I understand the logic of saying that it is difficult to have appeals on matters that are discretionary and outside the rules. The answer to some of those problems and to some of the issues raised by the hon. Member for Woking is to start to consolidate within the immigration rules those established concessions that the Home Office has stated would apply. In cases where the concessions were not applied to someone, they would fall within the category of appealable decisions. That is the way to simplify this area, rather than to build complex appeal arrangements around discretionary decisions.
Mr. Malins: I raised one little language point in my comments on amendment No. 404. I asked whether the phrase
Ms Winterton: It is covered by the examples that I used of the working holidaymaker who wanted to be in the United Kingdom for a longer period than permitted by immigration rules, or someone from outside who was applying to enter to look after a relative, or even someone who was in the UK on a visitor's permit for six months and wanted to extend the permit because her daughter had had a baby and she wanted to help look after it. Such a case would fall outside the current rules. The Government agree with the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow, and we intend to take steps to consolidate the concessions.
Mr. Malins: In the circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Ms Winterton: I beg to move amendment No. 351, in page 36, line 8, at end insert
Column Number: 418
The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 352 to 354 and 360.
Ms Winterton: The amendments ensure the integrity of the immigration appeals process in terms of our obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Race Relations Act 1976 by providing a right of appeal on race and human rights grounds where appeal rights are otherwise restricted. The clauses covered by the amendments deny rights of appeal essentially in cases in which the appeal cannot succeed or the matter under appeal cannot be regarded as sufficiently important to the applicant to justify the use of the appeal resources involved.
Except in the case of applications to be made for a purpose not covered by the immigration rules, these provisions reproduce existing provisions in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Indeed, most such cases have not attracted rights of appeal since the enactment of the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993. However, it is clearly inappropriate to apply such arguments against providing a right of appeal if human rights or a complaint of racial discrimination are involved. The amendments make the necessary exceptions for such cases. The exceptions are already provided for in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and the Race Relations Act. As now, we shall not invite an appeal on race or human rights grounds unless the application was made on those grounds. It is obviously not for us to solicit new applications in that way.
Amendment No. 360 covers clause 76. The case is different, as it relates to people whose presence in the UK the Secretary of State in person considers contrary to the public good. Obviously, we need to ensure that a person who is refused leave to enter and who falls under that clause can make an asylum appeal. If necessary, we shall table a further amendment to do that. I hope that the Committee will agree to the amendments.
Simon Hughes: The amendments seem to be helpful and in the right direction. I shall not oppose them now, although I shall take advice on the Minister comments. The amendments appear to be sensible extensions of the legislation for the categories involved.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause 66, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
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