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Identity Fraud/Theft

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much of his estimate of the total cost of identity fraud constitutes (a) credit card fraud and (b) identity theft. [5839]

Andy Burnham [holding answer 20 June 2005]: The Cabinet Office study published in 2002 estimated that the minimum cost of identity fraud to the economy is in excess of £1.3 billion per annum. The study estimates that £370 million of the overall figure is attributable to credit card fraud. This includes use of counterfeit cards, cards lost or stolen and card not present fraud. All of the costs estimated in the Cabinet Office study are associated with identity theft. Losses, however, are not generally incurred until a criminal has obtained a victims personal details through identity theft and used them to commit fraud.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) methodology and (b) sources were used for the calculation of the cost of identity theft in Appendix B of Identity Fraud: A Study, of July 2002. [6916]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Cabinet Office formed a cross-departmental team to estimate the cost of identity fraud to the UK economy. The study involved examination of direct financial losses, such as those incurred when false identities are used to fraudulently obtain credit. It also examined the costs incurred by enforcement and other agencies that encounter individuals who use false identities to obtain services fraudulently. This included costing the resources needed to carry out investigations. The sources that were used for the calculation of the cost of identity fraud were, HM Customs and Excise (now HM Revenue and Customs), Department of Health, Department of Work and Pensions, Immigration Service, Association of Payment Clearing Services, insurance companies and CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service.

Illegal Labour

Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which sections of commerce, agriculture or industry feature most prominently as employers of illegal labour. [4554]

Mr. McNulty: This information is not collected but the immigration service carries out visits to employers in relation to illegal migrant working on an intelligence-led basis, and the breakdown of this operational activity provides the best available indicator of which sectors feature most prominently as employers of illegal labour. During the financial year 2004–05, the main business sectors visited were: hospitality (42 per cent. of visits); carwashes and garages (8 per cent.); food production (6 per cent.); retail (6 per cent.); employment and cleaning agencies (5 per cent.); factories and warehouses (5 per cent.); sex industry (5 per cent.); nursing and care homes (1 per cent.); construction industry (1 per cent.);
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sports entertainment (1 per cent.); horticulture and agriculture (1 per cent.); other sectors (4 per cent.). A further 15 per cent. of visits were made to the home addresses of individuals suspected of working in the United Kingdom illegally in various sectors.


David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he plans to take to tackle forgery of indefinite leave to remain documents. [302]

Mr. Charles Clarke: In order to promote effective end-to-end migration control and ensure that the UK's borders are secure, tackling forgery of indefinite leave to remain documents is a priority for the immigration and nationality directorate (IND).

In line with the EU free movement of persons directive (directive 2004/38/EC), with which IND must comply by 30 April 2006, steps are being taken to replace the current system of residence documentation issued to EEA nationals and their family members with a new suite of secure documents. Close consultation with the national document fraud unit (NDFU) has established consideration of document security at the very forefront of the design and procurement process. The prevention of forgery and abuse is an issue that will continue to determine the format that these new residence documents will take.

In 2003 the United Kingdom issued a new form of secure residence permit sticker for other foreign nationals. This is a common-format permit issued by all member states of the European Union and European economic area and is produced to a design in which the United Kingdom participated. The permit contains a digital image of the holder and is applied in their passport after the document's authenticity and the holder's entitlement have been verified. To date no falsifications of this document have been identified.

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance is given to immigration officials on assessing whether passports and other immigration documents are genuine. [303]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The lead role in protecting the United Kingdom from the use of fraudulent travel documentation is taken by the immigration and nationality directorate intelligence service (INDIS), national document fraud unit (NDFU), which is recognised both at home and abroad as a leader in its field.

Forgery detection training is provided to all new immigration officers, assistant immigration officers and entry clearance (or visa) officers as part of their induction courses. The NDFU delivers a comprehensive range of intermediate and advanced level training to the immigration service's (IS) forgery officers, who provide consolidation training to their IS colleagues at local ports and enforcement offices.

The NDFU provides IS staff and forgery officers with up to date detection equipment and frequent information about all aspects of travel document abuse. It also provides other staff working within the
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immigration and nationality directorate (IND) with training and forgery detection information and equipment.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the backlog is of applications for each category of leave to remain in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [6919]

Mr. McNulty: As at 31 May 2005, there were 57,792 outstanding non-asylum applications for further leave to remain. These consisted of 20,107 charged applications, which represents a normal work in progress level which we expect to decide in line with our current service standards as shown on the immigration and nationality directorate website, and 37,685 non-charged applications. The non-charged cases include 10,074 European cases, 8,538 European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) cases and 12,731 indefinite leave from exceptional leave cases. ECAA casework was suspended until recently and has now resumed which has caused these applications to be delayed.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases the detention of children under immigration law for more than 28 days has been subject to ministerial authorisation since 1 January 2004; and if he will make a statement. [4678]

Mr. McNulty: The information requested is not part of the published statistics in the public domain.

Children are usually detained for very short periods. We only seek to detain children over 28 days in exceptional circumstances.

Iranian Repatriation

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department's current policy on the repatriation of Iranian nationals who are seeking asylum in the United Kingdom is. [4487]

Mr. McNulty: Asylum and human rights claims by Iranian nationals are, like those of all claimants, from all countries, considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). If the claimant meets the definition of a refugee in the 1951 Refugee Convention, they are granted asylum. If they do not qualify for asylum, but there are other circumstances that make them particularly vulnerable and engage our obligations under the ECHR, they are granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave.


David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the minimum technical requirements are for a biometric passport to conform to the International Civil Aviation Organisation recommendations; and what estimate he has made of (a) the lowest possible total cost of enabling the Passport Service to issue such passports and (b) the unit cost for each such passport issued, broken down by main component. [6784]

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Andy Burnham [holding answer 23 June 2005]: The minimum technical requirements to meet ICAO standards in addition to the requirements for security features and the presentation of personal data are as follows:

The UK Passport Service have not finally concluded commercial negotiations with its security printers Security Printing and Systems Ltd. on the production of the biometric passport, and is not in a position to provide an estimate of the unit cost of the passport.

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