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10 Jan 2005 : Column 307W—continued

Identity Cards (Scotland)

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the First Minister of Scotland with regard to identity cards. [204609]

Mr. Browne: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has consulted the First Minister throughout the development of policy on identity cards. Both the draft Bill published earlier this year and the Identity Cards Bill which was introduced to Parliament on 29 November 2004 make clear the rights of the Westminster Parliament to legislate for the introduction
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of identity cards throughout the United Kingdom but to leave decisions on how they are used by public services for which the Scottish Parliament is responsible to that Parliament.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the provisions for introduction of identity cards in Scotland will be the same as for the rest of the United Kingdom. [204677]

Mr. Browne: The Identity Cards Bill applies to the whole of the United Kingdom. This includes provision for the registration for identity cards, including the power to make it a requirement to register, to apply throughout the UK.

The Bill also allows for required identity checks regulations to be made for public services that are within the competence of the Westminster Parliament. Regulations for public services that fall within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament will be a matter for that Parliament.

Identity Fraud

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the extent of identity fraud in (a) the UK, (b) France, (c) Germany, (d) Spain and (e) Sweden. [203533]

Mr. Browne: It is not a criminal offence for a person simply to use another identity, but false identities are used often to facilitate other offences such as deception and money laundering. The police do not record incidents of identity fraud because prosecutions are recorded for the offences facilitated by false identities. However, a Cabinet Office study published in 2002 estimated the cost of identity fraud in the UK to be £1.3 billion. No estimate has been by the Home Office of the extent of identity fraud in France, Germany, Spain or Sweden.

Illegal Workers

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been carried out against employers for employing illegal workers in each year since 1993. [203482]

Mr. Browne: The latest available information on the number of persons proceeded against and those found guilty under section 8 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1996 is shown in the table.
Number of persons proceeded against and those found guilty of offences under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, England and Wales 1997 to 2003

Offence description(5507180089)StatuteYearPersons(5507180089) proceeded againstPersons(5507180089)found guilty
Employing a person subject to immigrationAsylum and Immigration Act 1996 19971997(5507180090)(5507180090)
control who has attained the age of 16. section 8. 1998199811

(5507180089) Principal immigration offence
(5507180090) Not applicable
(5507180091) Provisional figures

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Section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 first introduced the offence of employing illegal migrant workers and it came into force on 27 January 1997. No figures are therefore available for the years prior to this date.


Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for exceptional leave to remain in 2003 were determined (a) within one month of the date of application, (b) within two to six months, (c) within seven to 12 months, (d) within 13 to 24 months and (e) not within 24 months. [202980]

Mr. Browne: 7,210 initial asylum decisions were granted Exceptional Leave to Remain (ELR), Humanitarian Protection (HP) or Discretionary Leave (DL) 1 in 2003. The table shows the time taken for these initial decisions.

Grants of ELR, HP or DL in 2003 by time taken to initial decision(5507180092)

Length to time to initial decision for ELR, HP or
DL in 2003
29 days or less11
One month to less than two months55
Two months to less than six months19
Six months to less than one year8
One year to less than two years3
Two years or more5

(5507180092) Figures are provisional.

82 per cent. of applications (excluding withdrawals and third country cases) received in 2003–04 (April 2003 to March 2004) had initial decisions reached and served within two months. This exceeded the Government's target of 75 per cent. for 2003–04.
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Information on asylum initial decisions and timeliness of initial decisions are published quarterly on the Home Office website at

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response he proposes to make to the House of Lords judgment of 8 December in connection with discrimination by the immigration service against Roma people intending to travel to the UK from the Czech Republic; and what instructions he has issued to discontinue such practices. [204842]

Mr. Browne: Although the judgment found that Immigration Officers operating pre-clearance at Prague airport in 2001 had discriminated against Roma people, it also found that they were not in breach of international law in refusing passengers entry to claim asylum. The scheme was operated two years ago as a short-term response to a high level of immigration abuse by passengers travelling from Prague. It was always intended that the pre-clearance arrangements would be operated in a non- discriminatory manner in relation to ethnic or national origin.

We will be studying the judgment carefully for any implications it may have as to our future operations, but it is important to note that this case relates specifically to immigration controls no longer in operation following the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union.

Immigration Officials

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) immigration and (b) security officials have been based at each major port of entry to the United Kingdom in each year since 1997. [203528]

Mr. Browne: (a) The number of immigration officials working at the major ports of entry to the UK since 1997 are set out in the table:

(5507180093) Complete figures are not available
(5507180094) No figures available for this year

"Immigration officials" is taken to mean staff employed in the following grades: assistant immigration officer, immigration officer, chief immigration officer and immigration inspector.

(b) The deployment of security personnel is a matter for individual airports and maritime ports of entry into the UK and as such information about the number of security staff they employ is not held centrally. Government inspectors with responsibility for transport security work closely with industry to ensure that they have the necessary protective security measures.

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many investigative officers from the Immigration Service work (a) full-time and (b) part-time within Scotland. [200980]

Mr. Browne [holding answer 30 November 2004]: There are 43 Immigration Service officers currently undertaking enforcement duties in Scotland. Of these two are part-time workers. In addition there are 11 Immigration Service officers working alongside four dedicated police officers in the Immigration Service's Intelligence Unit in Scotland. This figure is projected to rise to 17 shortly.
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Although enforcement officers in the Immigration Service investigate immigration offences, the police currently take prosecutions against immigration offenders through the Scottish courts working closely with immigration officials in Local Enforcement Offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The Immigration Service is currently reviewing its criminal investigation capabilities and the role that the police play in them. This will include a review of the arrangements currently in place in Scotland.

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