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(3) whether the children of failed asylum seekers removed from their parents will be deported contemporaneously with their parents; 
(4) what funding will be made available for local authorities responsible for the care of child asylum seekers. (141053)
Beverley Hughes: There is nothing in the Bill which changes in any way the grounds on which children may be taken into care. The Bill simply provides that families, illegally resident in the UK once their claims have failed, would no longer be entitled to support at the expense of the taxpayer if they refuse opportunities to leave the country. If, by putting themselves in this position, parents put their children at risk, it would be for the local authority to decide how the interests of their children should be protected under existing child protection legislation. We do not believe that many, if any, parents would put their children in this position. If this were to happen the costs would be met by central Government. We intend that in all cases the children concerned would be removed along with their parents.
Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of UK immigration policies on the health services of developing countries, with particular reference to Malawi; and if he will make a statement. 
Beverley Hughes: International healthcare recruitment makes a key contribution to the delivery of services in the NHS. It can also benefit the migrant and the country of origin; but in certain contexts, migration of skilled workers, including health professionals, can have negative impacts. For that reason, the Department of Health, in consultation with the Department for International Development, has published a Code of Practice for NHS employers involved in international recruitment of healthcare professionals. This seeks to ensure that developing countries such as Malawi and countries suffering significant skill shortages of their own are not targeted.
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Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the numbers likely to be imprisoned under Clause 2 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill. 
Beverley Hughes: The offence is intended to act as a strong deterrent. For anyone who nevertheless arrives undocumented without reasonable excuse, the possibility of prosecution will exist. Enforcement and prosecution guidelines will be developed for this offence.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department where, in his proposals for a new asylum and immigration appeals system, the burden of proof will lie for establishing that a person has destroyed their documents. 
Paul Goggins: For the criminal offence in clause 2 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill, it will be for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the offence of arriving undocumented has been committed. It will be a defence for the defendant to prove that he or she had a reasonable excuse for not being in possession of a document.
Clause 6 of the Bill on claimant's credibility sets out various behaviours that a deciding authority must take into account when considering an asylum or human rights claim, including the destruction of a document without reasonable explanation. It will be for the deciding authority to come to a view, based on all the relevant information (including explanations provided by the applicant), as to whether one of these behaviours is present.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his latest estimate is of the number of asylum seekers in the United Kingdom; and how many of them are illegal asylum seekers. 
Beverley Hughes: Information on the total number of asylum seekers currently in the UK, including failed asylum seekers, is not available. This could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records. In addition some applicants may leave the United Kingdom without informing the Immigration Service.
There is no official estimate of the size of the illegally resident population in the United Kingdom. The Government have commissioned research into the methods used in other countries to estimate the size of the illegal population in order to define methods appropriate for the UK.
The work required is challenging because, by definition, illegal migrants fall outside of official statistics and are therefore difficult to measure. People illegally present in the UK are also motivated to ensure they remain hidden, which is a challenge to conducting research.
The number of cases (principal applicants) awaiting initial decision or awaiting appeal determinations continues to fall as the level of applications falls, initial decisions continue to outstrip the number of applications, and record numbers of appeals are determined by the IAA.
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Information on asylum applications is published quarterly. The next publication will be available at the end of February 2004 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of asylum applicants granted (a) asylum, (b) exceptional leave to remain, (c) humanitarian protection and (d) discretionary leave arrived in the United Kingdom without travel documents or other identity documentation in the last year for which figures are available. 
Beverley Hughes: The information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, management information indicates that, in the first half of 2003, undocumented arrivals (which may include dependants) represented in the region of 70 per cent. of port asylum cases.
Information on asylum initial decisions is published quarterly. The next publication will be available at the end of February 2004 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many instances there have been of asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo being deported to their homeland and refused entry in the last five years. 
Beverley Hughes: Information on the number of failed asylum seekers who were returned to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and subsequently refused entry there is not available. However, the Immigration Service does not attempt to effect an individual's removal unless it is satisfied that the individual concerned is assured of entry in their final destination.
Deportations are a specific subset of removals alongside persons subject to administrative removal, removal due to illegal entry action or those refused entry at port and subsequently removed. Information on the nationality of those people removed as a result of deportation action is not available.
Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers have been deported to Gaza in each of the last 12 months; and to which (a) ports and (b) airports they were returned. 
Beverley Hughes: I regret that this information is not available. It is not possible to identify separately Gaza within the available statistics on removals of unsuccessful asylum seekers from the United Kingdom.
Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have been refused support in each of the last six months under section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. 
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Section 55 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 came into force on 8 January 2003, restricting the availability of NASS support to those asylum seekers who make an asylum application as soon as reasonably practicable.
|Number of cases refused under Section 55 of the NIA Act 2002|
Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many failed asylum seekers from (a) Somalia, (b) Afghanistan and (c) Iraq have been deported in each of the last six months. 
Beverley Hughes: Deportations are a specific subset of removals alongside persons subject to administrative removal, removal due to illegal entry action or those refused entry at port and subsequently removed.
Estimates of the number of nationals of Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq who had sought asylum at some stage and who were removed between January and June 2003 are shown in the table. These figures include persons departing 'voluntarily' after the initiation of enforcement action against them, and persons leaving under Assisted Voluntary Returns Programmes run by the International Organization for Migration.
(1) Includes persons departing "voluntarily" after enforcement action had been initiated against them, persons leaving under Assisted voluntary return programmes run by the International Organisation for Migration, and removals on safe third country grounds.
(2) Figures rounded to the nearest five with * = 1 or 2.
(3) Data have been estimated due to data quality issues
(4) Provisional figures
Information on the nationality of asylum seekers removed from the United Kingdom during the third quarter of 2003 will be published at the end of February 2004 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www. homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with which countries the (a) UK and (b) EU has agreements concerning the re-documentation of illegal immigrants found in the UK. 
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 4 December 2003]: Re-documentation agreements are not necessary to enable us to return to most countries. Wherever possible (and this is the case with more than 160 countries), we
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return using the EU laissez passer, because this is the simplest and quickest approach. But where third countries do not accept the EU letter, we have sought to conclude a range of informal or formal agreements.
The UK signed its first three bilateral readmission agreements with Romania and Bulgaria in February 2003 and Albania in October 2003. These agreements are due to enter into force in 2004. We will continue to negotiate bilateral readmission agreements and less formal re-documentation arrangements in order to facilitate removals operations.
In addition, at EU level, the Commission has been authorised by the Council to negotiate Community readmission agreements with 11 third countries: Morocco, Sri Lanka, Russia, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Macao, Ukraine, Albania, Algeria, China and Turkey. The first of these is due to enter force in 2004.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many illegal entrants have been discovered at (a) Dover and (b) other UK ports in the last 12 months; and what percentage have been removed forthwith. 
Beverley Hughes: Locally collated, provisional management information, which may be subject to change, indicates that 2,950 illegal entrants were detected at or close to the port of Dover having entered clandestinely between 1 January 2003 and 30 September 2003. 7.9 per cent. of those detected, 230 did not claim asylum and were speedily removed to their continental port of embarkation. In the corresponding period during 2002, before the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act was passed, and before we put in place a wide range of measures, including deployment of new detection technology and enhanced juxtaposed controls, there were 8,370 detections of which 4 per cent., 340 did not claim asylum and were removed immediately.
Similar information for ports outside of Dover indicates that 280 were dealt as clandestine illegal entrants between January and September 2003. We do not routinely break down the percentage who do not claim asylum and who are immediately removed.
Beverley Hughes: As of the 1 September 2003, there were 3,119 full-time equivalent Immigration Officers employed by the UK Immigration Service. Of these 2,394 Immigration Officers were deployed at the UK ports of entry.
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