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24 Nov 2005 : Column 2299W—continued

Algerian Nationals

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Algerian nationals
 
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have been granted (a) indefinite leave to remain and(b) British nationality in each of the last eight years. [18989]

Mr. McNulty: Statistics on settlement (indefinite leave to enter and remain) by nationality and British nationality are published annually. The latest published information on settlement is in the annual Command Paper Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom, 2003". The 2004 edition is due to be published in November.

Information on British nationality is published in annual statistical bulletins entitled Persons Granted British Citizenship". The latest edition is that for 2004. Copies are available from the Library and on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html

Asylum/Immigration

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy on the payment of benefits to asylum seekers following the ruling of the Law Lords on 3 November. [26773]

Mr. McNulty: The House of Lords ruling in Limbuela and Others leaves intact a fundamental principle within our approach to asylum which is that people should claim as soon as they arrive in the country. The Law Lords have recognised that there are difficult decisions to be made and each case has to be judged on its individual merits. We are studying very carefully their judgment and considering whether we need to make any adjustments to our existing procedures and processes.

We are adopting tough new means to crack down on opportunistic behaviour. In particular, we are setting up tightly managed new processes for handling late and opportunistic claims as part of the new asylum model announced in the Government's Five-Year Strategy for Asylum and Immigration. The impact of this will be that those who seek to play the system will receive a very quick asylum decision and so will, in reality, have very limited access to benefit—should they qualify for this while that decision is being taken.

Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the implications of section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 on the responsibilities of local authorities under the Children Act 1989; [25972]

(2) what representations he has received from directors of social services in England about the impact of section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 on the welfare of children; [26510]

(3) what assessment he has made of the compatibility of section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; [26511]

(4) how the experience of children of failed asylum seekers will be assessed in the evaluation of the piloting of section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 in London, Manchester and Yorkshire; and whether the resource implications of the pilots for local authorities will be taken into account in the evaluation. [26512]


 
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Mr. McNulty: It was always clear that there would be risks and challenges for both local authorities and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office in implementing section nine. The section nine pilot was set up to provide a controlled environment in which these problems could be explored. A detailed evaluation of the pilot is planned over the next few weeks. Officials will be contacting social services departments and other key stakeholders in the areas covered by the pilot.

They will be asked for their views to enable quantitative and qualitative data to be gathered on the process and the effect the provision has had on families and local and central Government. This evaluation will take into consideration the impact upon social services, and this will include any resource implications.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child contains a reservation in favour of the United Kingdom enabling it to apply such legislation as it deems necessary in the interests of the United Kingdom immigration control. Two letters have been received from Directors of Social Services.

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has evaluated on the implications of setting a limit on immigration to the United kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [24123]

Mr. McNulty: As set out in the Home Office Five Year Strategy for Asylum and Immigration, the Government encourages migration for work through a flexible system that is principally employer-led and responsive to market needs. In a flexible and dynamic labour market such as that of the UK, it is considered to be impractical and counter-productive to try and set limits in a rigid and arbitrary way. Such limits could prevent the UK bringing in the skilled workers we need.

Detailed work is being progressed on the development of the proposals for a new points based migration system contained in the consultation document: Selective Admission: Making migration work for Britain. The Government intends to publish a formal response to the consultation next year.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many calls have been made to (a) the MPs hotline and (b) each other section of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in each quarter of each of the last three years; what the average time taken to answer each call was in each section; and if he will make a statement. [26886]

Mr. McNulty: The following tables provide the information requested on the performance of the MPs hotline and on the other call centres in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. The MPs hotline receives between 2,500 to 3,500 calls per month of which the majority are answered in three to four seconds.

The other call centres in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Directorate receive substantially more calls than the MPs hotline and their time taken to
 
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answer ranges from less than one minute to over four minutes for the Nationality Helpdesk in Liverpool. The Nationality Helpdesk was created on 31 January 2005.
MPs hotline

Number of calls madeAverage time taken to answer
July to September 20036,530(29)
October to December 20036,627(29)
January to March 20047,076(29)
April to June 20047,633(29)
July to September 20048,592(29)
October to December 20048,092(29)
January to March 20058,701(29)
April to June 20056,466(29)
July to September 20059,955(29)
October to 4 November3,929(29)


(29)Information not available currently but 79 per cent. of calls answered in 3 to 4 seconds.



Evidence and enquiries including employers helpline

Number of calls madeAverage time taken to answer
January to March 200435,057(30)
April to June 200447,665(30)
July to September 200437,859(30)
October to December 200436,778(30)
January to March 200536,459(30)
April to June 200540,019(30)
July to September 200537,334(30)
October to 4 November11,620(30)


(30)Information not available but 95 per cent. of calls answered in 15 seconds.



Work permits UK contact centre, Sheffield

Number of calls madeAverage time taken to answer
January to March 2003n /an /a
April to June 2003n /an /a
July to September 2003n /an /a
October to December 2003n /an /a
January to March 2004n /an /a
April to June 2004n /an /a
July to September 2004n /an /a
October to December 2004n /an /a
January to March 2005n /an /a
April to June 2005116,5763:14
July to September 200561,5761:43
October to 4 November24,4802:16




n/a = Information not available.





Nationality helpdesk, Liverpool

Number of calls madeAverage time taken to answer
January to March 2005n /a9:40
April to June 2005455,7476:23
July to September 2005378,1865:26
October to 4 November189,9934:44




n/a =Information not available.





 
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Immigration and Nationality Enquiry Bureau, Croydon

Number of calls madeNumber of calls handledAverage time taken to answer
October to December 2003n /a347,3432:15
January to March 2004n /a397,9091:33
April to June 2004n /a379,0622:05
July to September 2004n /a386,9002:38
October to December 2004n /a393,0901:44
January to March 2005n /a394,3632:01
April to June 20051,196,005373,4411:34
July to September 20051,300,247391,9541:22
October to 9 November(31)459,224(31)155,052(31)0:55




n/a = Information not available.
(31)YTD.



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