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15 Jan 2004 : Column 884W—continued


Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the findings of the Review on Immigration Law in relation to Gurkhas will be published. [147006]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 12 January 2004]: The internal review of our immigration policy in respect of Gurkhas serving in the British Army will be

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completed shortly and a report presented to Ministers. Once agreement has been reached on the way forward, I will write to my right hon. Member.

Health Worker Work Permits

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits have been granted since January to health workers by each Government office region; and from which countries they have come. [146003]

Beverley Hughes: In the first nine months of 2003, 33,057 work permits were approved for posts in the healthcare sector. This figure includes initial approvals and approvals of applications to extend and to change existing work permits.

The table breaks this figure down by the nationality of the healthcare worker for whom the work permit was issued.

NationalityApprovals for health workers
South Africa4,423
Peoples Republic of China733

Work Permits (UK) is unable to provide data broken down by Government Office region.

Illegal Guns

Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) air weapons, (b) rifles, (c) shotguns, (d) imitation firearms and (e) handguns have been stolen in each of the last five years. [147396]

Caroline Flint: The information requested has been published in Table 2.11 of 'Crime in England and Wales 2001–02: Supplementary Volume', which is available in the Library.


Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for indefinite leave to remain were submitted in 2002 by those who had previously been granted exceptional leave to remain; and how many were (a) granted and (b) refused, broken down by nationality. [141554]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 4 December 2003]: The latest available statistics are given in the table.

The information relates to grants of indefinite leave to remain (settlement) to those who had previously been granted exceptional leave to remain.

Information on the number of applications submitted or the number of such application refused are not currently available.

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Persons given exceptional leave to remain, granted settlement(19), by main nationality, 2000

Number of persons
Other former USSR5
Serbia and Montenegro120
Other former Yugoslavia415
Other Europe5
Other Americas10
Congo (Dem. Rep.)215
Sierra Leone45
Other Africa275
Indian sub-continent95
Other Middle East20
Middle East600
Sri Lanka90
Hong Kong5
Other Asia5
Remainder of Asia2,005
Other and Stateless30
All nationalities7,280

(19) Excludes those previously given exceptional leave to remain who are granted settlement on other grounds; also excludes dependants.


Data rounded to the nearest 5 with * = 1 or 2

18 Plus

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding his Department and its executive agencies have provided to the 18 Plus organisation since 1997. [147351]

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Fiona Mactaggart: Neither the Home Department, nor its executive agencies, have any records of funding the 18 Plus organisation since 1997.

Inward Visitors

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people visited the United Kingdom from (a) Poland, (b) Australia and (c) New Zealand in the latest year for which figures are available. [147174]

Beverley Hughes: The latest available information is given in the table.

Passengers given leave to enter the United Kingdom as visitors, by nationality, 2002

TotalOrdinary visitorBusiness visitor
Poland206,000 147,00059,400
Australia 453,000395,000 57,900
New Zealand116,000103,00012,800


The figures in this table have been rounded to three significant digits; because of this the sum of the constituent items may not agree with the total as shown.

The information is available in the Command Paper 'Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 2002' (Cm 6053), obtainable from the House Library, The Stationery Office and via the Home Office website

Murders (London)

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many murders were committed in the areas covered by the (a) Metropolitan and (b) City of London police forces in 2003. [146416]

Ms Blears: The requested information is not available centrally.

New Citizens

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the development of the programme for (a) welcoming new UK citizens and (b) improving their competence in the English language. [144074]

Beverley Hughes: Becoming a UK citizen is an important step and we want to welcome new citizens with the right balance of solemnity and celebration. We hope that the introduction of citizenship ceremonies this year will help those who settle here to gain a fuller appreciation of the civic and political dimensions of British citizenship, to play an active role in society and to feel a greater sense of belonging to the wider UK community.

The 'Life in the UK' Advisory Group, which we appointed to look at the content, conduct and implementation of programmes of study for new citizens, published its final report on 3 September. The report made a number of recommendations concerning the provision of language programmes, both for naturalisation applicants and for new migrants. We are

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working with the Departments for Education and Skills and for Work and Pensions to assess the implications of these recommendations.

As we said when the report was published, we welcome the broad thrust of these proposals and are now looking at the best way of taking them forward; we intend to announce our conclusions shortly.

People Trafficking

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the harmonisation of legislation and penalties for people trafficking. [147319]

Beverley Hughes: The United Kingdom was closely involved in the drafting of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons which supplements the United Nations Convention against Trans-National Organised Crime. This requires countries which are signatories to adopt legislation to establish "trafficking in persons" as a criminal offence. The UK was also fully involved in discussions on the subsequent EU Council Framework Decision on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. This requires all member states to ensure that trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation or any form of sexual exploitation are punishable by terms of imprisonment with a maximum penalty that is not less than eight years.

We have acted quickly to deal with the worst forms of exploitation by creating an offence of trafficking for the purposes of controlling someone in prostitution within the Nationality, Immigration, and Asylum Act 2002, carrying a maximum penalty of 14 years. More comprehensive offences concerning trafficking into, within or out of the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation are included in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, these also carry a maximum sentence of 14 years.

A new offence covering trafficking for forced labour and removal of organs is included in the Asylum and Immigration Bill, which is currently before Parliament. Once this offence is in force the UK will be able to ratify the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what measures he is taking to protect victims of people trafficking who come forward to the relevant authorities; and what measures are available to allow the grant of an appropriate legal status to such people to enable their rehabilitation and integration into UK society; [147321]

Beverley Hughes: The White Paper "Secure Borders, Safe Haven: integration with diversity within modern Britain"—published in February 2002—sets out our general proposals for assisting the victims of human trafficking. In particular a commitment was made that

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We are committed to helping the victims of human trafficking. On 10 March 2003, we launched a pilot scheme under which, adult female victims of trafficking for purpose of sexual exploitation, who are willing to come forward to the authorities and help law enforcement against organised criminals are offered protection and a range of support services, such as counselling and health checks in safe accommodation managed by a voluntary sector organisation.

The pilot scheme ended on 31 December, and in its place we have established the protection and support as a service stream of support to victims until the end of the financial year 2004–05. Although limited, the service will meet the current identified needs in the London area of adult women trafficked into the UK for purposes of sexual exploitation.

Through the pilot scheme in partnership with a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) we have developed a communication strategy that is to be launched early in March. It is multi-dimensional and aimed specifically at three target audiences—increasing general public awareness, potential victim awareness and reaching trafficked women who have not been identified. We are developing a range of approaches including posters, networking with agencies (Health, Social Care and Housing providers), multi-disciplinary training and media profiling.

The communication strategy will be run as part of the service providing accommodation and support to victims in the London area. We will consider its impact and potential for a wider campaign as part of the evaluation of the scheme.

We will continue to consider victims' legal status on a case by case basis. We acknowledge that, if they do co-operate with the authorities, they may risk reprisals against themselves or their families' abroad. We will consider, in the light of individual circumstances, whether it would be appropriate to allow them to remain here. But if they are not entitled to remain, and it is not appropriate to let them stay, then they must be returned to their country wherever possible. To do otherwise would undermine our immigration law.

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts about tackling the cause of people trafficking through (a) socio-economic co-operation and (b) training packages for police and government officials in (i) transit countries and (ii) the countries of origin of those trafficked. [147322]

Beverley Hughes: The United Kingdom was closely involved in the drafting of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons which supplements the United Nations Convention against Trans-National Organised Crime. Article 9 of this refers to the need for social and economic initiatives, and Article 10 encourages the provision of training for law enforcement or other relevant officials. There have been a number of subsequent discussions at EU level to encourage the ratification of the UN Protocol. These have recognised that an effective strategy to combat human trafficking must include both preventative action to tackle the causes of trafficking, and training and capacity building in source and transit countries.

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The UK is also contributing to, and has been involved in discussion about, the European Commission five-year (2003–07) AGIS funding programme. This will provide funding for projects in the field of police and judicial co-operation, focusing on combating organised crime, including organised immigration crime, and encouraging co-operation between law enforcement agencies. This funding provides an opportunity for member states to work together, or with new or candidate member states, to share expertise.

Funding under the EU Phare scheme is also available to member states for projects involving training for police personnel on organised crime. On 1 August 2003 the UK successfully bid for an 18-month twinning project in the Czech Republic, under this programme. The overarching aims of this project are to strengthen the fight and preventive measures against illegal trafficking and organised prostitution, to reduce the number of persons trafficked in the Czech Republic and to strengthen the capacity of law enforcement bodies to combat trafficking.

Tackling human trafficking in source and transit countries is an important element of the UK's strategy and alongside building on bilateral law enforcement to this end, the UK has provided funding for projects aiming to raise awareness and prevent trafficking.

Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many convictions for people trafficking there have been in the UK in the last 30 years; and whether in each case the victims were (a) illegal immigrants intended for the sex trade or (b) babies or children to be sold on for adoption; [147316]

Beverley Hughes: The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 received Royal Assent in November 2002, and sections 145 and 146, which cover trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, came into force on 10 February 2003. Data on numbers of prosecutions under these sections will be collected and published in due course. Given that the powers came into effect very recently, there is not any information yet held centrally about numbers of prosecutions. Statistics of court proceedings for 2003 will be published in the autumn of 2004. The maximum sentence for this offence will be 14 years.

Prior to the introduction of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act, there was no specific offence under which people traffickers could be prosecuted. In 2000, the Government established a multi-agency taskforce called Reflex, to co-ordinate the UK's operational response to organised immigration crime. Under Reflex, a number of organised crime gangs involved in the smuggling or trafficking of people have been disrupted. Traffickers have been prosecuted for associated offences, for example, facilitation of illegal entry or living off immoral earnings, where trafficking

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has been for the purposes of prostitution. However, comprehensive figures are not currently available centrally on the numbers of convictions for associated offences which relate to trafficking. It is therefore not possible to give figures relating to convictions for people traffickers for the last 30 years or provide a breakdown of data relating to victims in cases of trafficking.

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