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Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the Government will be required to pay to GSL UK Ltd. as a consequence of not proceeding with the accommodation centre for asylum seekers in Bicester. 
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the cost of the proposed accommodation centre for asylum seekers at Bicester is attributable to the cost of the acquisition of the land. 
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department acquired the site for the proposed accommodation centre at Bicester from the Ministry of Defence at full market value. 
Mr. McNulty: Legal advice given to those in immigration detention is a confidential matter between legal representatives and their clients. However, detainees are made aware of the availability of legal advice through information displayed around the removal centres. Information is also provided in the library. It is a matter for individual detainees to decide whether or not they wish to seek legal advice or representation. In those cases where individuals are detained as part of the Fast Track asylum process legal advice is available on site.
Should we proceed to develop a secure removal centre near Bicester we will appoint a contractor following a procurement competition under EU procurement regulations.
4 Jul 2005 : Column 113W
If the evidence and application of the Dublin arrangements establishes that responsibility lies with any other participating state then the appropriate transfer would be sought to that state rather than to France.
Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will renegotiate the bilateral agreement with France to enable the UK to send asylum seekers arriving from France back to France to process their claims. 
Mr. McNulty: We have no intention to renegotiate the bilateral gentleman's agreement". The asylum aspects have been replaced by the Dublin II and Eurodac regulations. These regulations have enabled us to return more asylum seekers, not just to France, but to other EU member states.
Mr. McNulty: Local authorities retain responsibility for providing support to certain asylum seekers and can claim grant from the Home Office to meet the reasonable costs of providing this support. Details of the grants paid for adults and families since 1 April 1999 and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children UASC, since 1 April 2000 are available on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate website:
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum applicants from (a) Somalia, (b) Ethiopia, (c) Eritrea, (d) Democratic Republic of Congo, (e) Senegal and (f) Ivory Coast have been (i) granted exceptional leave to remain, (ii)granted indefinite leave to remain, (iii) refused leave and (iv) removed in each year since 2000. 
Mr. McNulty: The table shows initial decisions, appeal determinations and removals for nationals of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and the Ivory Coast since 2000. Decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made in the same period and appeal outcomes do not necessarily relate to initial decisions made in the same period.
Information on asylum applications, initial decisions, appeals and removals are published quarterly. The next publication covering the second quarter of 2005 will be available in August 2005 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
|Cases considered under normal procedures||Backlog clearance exercise|
|Total initial decisions||Grants of asylum||Grants of ELR, HP or DL(38)||Total refusals||Granted asylum or ELR under backlog criteria(39)(5507970040)||Refused under backlog criteria(39)(5507970040)|
|Dem Rep. of Congo|
Mr. McNulty: Asylum seekers are not allowed to work in the UK and we have no plans to change this policy. However, since 6 February 2005, following the introduction of the EU directive on reception standards for asylum seekers, asylum seekers may seek permission to work if their claim remains outstanding for longer than 12 months without a decision being made on it and providing the reason for the delay cannot be attributable to the asylum seeker.
Mr. Shepherd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy on deporting failed asylum seekers who are suffering from HIV/AIDS, following the Court of Appeal's judgment in N (FC) v. the Secretary of State for the Home Department. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 28 June 2005]: The policy on removing persons, including failed asylum seekers, who are suffering from HIV/AIDS is being reviewed in the light of the House of Lords appeal judgment in N (FC) v. the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will grant indefinite leave to remain to asylum seekers proven to have come to the UK from Zimbabwe and held in UK detention centres awaiting deportation. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 29 June 2005]: Asylum and human rights claims by Zimbabwean nationals, like those from nationals of every other country, are considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 UN refugee convention and the European convention on human rights (ECHR). We do not consider it appropriate to grant indefinite leave to remain purely on the basis of a person's nationality.
As with any other nationality, Zimbabweans who meet the definition of a refugee in the 1951 convention 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. If their application is refused, they have a right of appeal to the independent asylum and immigration tribunal. If an asylum and human rights claim is refused, and any appeal to the independent asylum and immigration tribunal is unsuccessful, that means that it would be safe for that particular individual to return to Zimbabwe. It is in this way we ensure that we provide protection to those Zimbabweans who need it.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will ensure that no asylum detainee is transported to a port of departure pursuant to a deportation order in a vehicle without CCTV, or the offer of escort by an independent observer; 
Since the commencement of the contract, due to the increased volume of demand, Securicor has not been able to meet all requests for overseas removals. As a result, for some overseas removals we have continued to use our previous approved list supplier Recruitment Solutions International (RSI).
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum detainees have received new orders for deportation during the course of investigation into complaints made against escort services for transport to and from Oakington and Yarl's Wood Detention Centres in the last five years. 
Data on applications and initial decision outcomes for asylum seekers broken down by sex is published annually. The next publication covering 2004 will be available in August 2005 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
| Applications received|
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the investigation into the complaints made by Angeline Bure, Ashley S. Tshabangu and Anastancia Zulu, Zimbabwean nationals, against the escort service RSI in relation to the execution of a deportation order on 1 May has been completed. 
In all cases where a detainee alleges assault by the escorts, the escorting Contract Monitor will first refer the matter to the police as the appropriate investigating authority. The Immigration Service will co-operate fully with any police enquiries. The Contract Monitor will also consider whether the allegation is such that it is appropriate to suspend the certification of the escorting officer(s) involved.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he received notification of a complaint by Angeline Bure, Ashley S. Tshabangu and Anastancia Zulu, Zimbabwean nationals, about the escort service RSI in relation to the execution of a deportation order to Zimbabwe on 1 May 2005. 
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received concerning the conduct of escort services for asylum detainees to and from Yarl's Wood and Oakington detention centres. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 30 June 2005]: Representations have recently been received from the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees (AVID). AVID inquired into the circumstances surrounding the escorted removal of three Zimbabwean women from Yarl's Wood Removal Centre.
Mr. Hood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for asylum were received from Zimbabwean nationals in (a) 2001, (b) 2002, (c) 2003, (d) 2004 and (e) 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: Information on asylum applications for nationals of Zimbabwe are published quarterly and annually. The information requested is given in the following table, and published in the annual bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 2003, and (data for 2004 and Q1 2005) Asylum Statistics: 1st Quarter 2005 United Kingdom. Copies are available from the Library of the House and on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html
Mr. McNulty: Information on asylum applications, initial decision outcomes and appeal outcomes for nationals of Zimbabwe are published quarterly and annually. The information requested is given in the following table, and published in the annual bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 2003, and (data for 2004 and Q1 2005) Asylum Statistics: 1st Quarter 2005 United Kingdom. Copies are available from the Library of the House and on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html
|Total||Total decisions||Grants of asylum||Grants of HP(50)||Grants of DL(50)||Total refusals|
Michael Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for asylum in the UK were made in 2004; and how many of those applying were detained during the application process. 
Mr. McNulty: 33,930 asylum applications were received in 2004, 31 per cent. lower than in 2003 (49,405). Information on how many of these were detained during the application process is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case files.
As at 25 December 2004, 1,515 persons who had sought asylum at some stage were being detained in the UK solely under Immigration Act powers. This represented 78 per cent. of the total number of persons detained as at that date. This excludes persons detained in police cells and persons detained under dual immigration and other powers.
Information on asylum applications and asylum detainees are published quarterly on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html
Mr. McNulty: Through expanding our juxtaposed controls, deploying new detection technology and increasing our airline liaison network overseas we have already made significant improvements to border controls and in preventing illegal immigrants being smuggled into the UK. These measures have had a significant impact in deterring illegal immigration and in reducing asylum intake.
In order to enhance further our border controls we are expanding our airline liaison officer network abroad and developing and implementing a more comprehensive and debriefing system in the UK. We are also expanding our mobile freight search and surveillance capability to counter any new or emerging threats.
Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the immigration process for overseas doctors who have passed the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board Test. 
Mr. McNulty: The provisions for overseas doctors coming to the UK to take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board Test were reviewed earlier this year. After consultation with the Department of Health, General Medical Council and British Medical Association, these provisions were incorporated into the Immigration Rules on 15 March 2005. We have no further plans to review these specific provisions.
We are in the process of reviewing the immigration system for all those coming to the UK to work, train or study, following the publication of the five year strategy Controlling our borders: Making migration work for Britain" on 7 February 2005.
Mr. McNulty: The Immigration Service is currently conducting internal and external recruitment campaigns at a number of locations to meet current and anticipated staffing requirements for the current financial year. We intend to follow this with a further rolling recruitment programme to maintain staffing levels.
Mr. McNulty: Government officials do not assess language ability. Home Office officials check that documents submitted show that the applicant meets the standard required for those applying for naturalisation.
Applicants can submit a certificate at English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) entry three or above or an educational certificate that could only have been obtained by someone with good English. Entry three is set at the B1 threshold level under the Council of Europe framework which is a level adopted in many European countries for naturalisation purposes.
For those applicants who hold no such certificate, a qualified solicitor or notary may, by way of a short interview certify that someone is a native speaker of English or that their English language skills are as good as would be expected of a native English speaker of full age and capacity.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to extend the length of visit visa that can be issued to an overseas doctor on successful completion of the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board examination. 
Mr. McNulty: There is no need to extend the leave granted to overseas doctors after they pass the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) Test. Once they have passed the PLAB Test, overseas doctors can apply to extend their stay to pursue their training in the UK or to take up employment here. They do not need to have a specific training post arranged in order to be granted leave for this purpose, as long as the relevant Postgraduate Dean confirms that they will be pursuing their training in the UK.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many overseas doctors (a) made original applications for, (b) passed and (c) failed the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board examination; and how many who passed made renewal applications for their visit visa (i) in total, (ii) once, (iii) on two or three occasions, (iv) on four or five occasions and (v) on more than five occasions in each year. 
Mr. McNulty: The General Medical Council (GMC) uses the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) to enable overseas doctors to demonstrate their knowledge of English and their medical expertise. The Home Office does not administer the PLAB test, nor does it know how many candidates sat either part of the test (the first part of which may be taken overseas) or what the results were.
Doctors coming to the UK to take the PLAB test are eligible for up to six months of leave to take the PLAB test. They can extend this twice if they need further time to take or re-take the test and have a confirmed test date. If this is not sufficient to enable them to pass the test, they are expected to leave the UK. Once they have passed the PLAB test they are expected to switch into the relevant managed migration route to enable them to pursue their training or take up employment in the UK.
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