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13 Feb 2006 : Column 1710W—continued

Police Restructuring

21. Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress with his plans for the reorganisation of police services. [50410]

Hazel Blears: The Home Secretary made a Written Ministerial Statement on the progress of police force restructuring on 6 February.
 
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Under-age Drinking

23. Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in tackling under-age drinking. [50412]

Paul Goggins: The Government have put in place a number of measures to tackle under-age drinking. Through initiatives like Challenge 21 it has worked closely with the alcohol industry to ensure that drinks retailers reduce sales to under-18s. Targeted enforcement has reduced the number of illegal sales to children. In the latest Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaign, the failure rate for supermarkets was 17 per cent., down from 50 per cent. in summer 2005.

Volunteering

24. Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to increase opportunities for volunteers. [50413]

Paul Goggins: The numbers of volunteers in England are at record levels. During the Year of the Volunteer in 2005 over 3,000 events were held across 12 themed months with over 2.2 billion volunteering minutes pledged by the public.

But too many people still face barriers to volunteering, particularly those at risk of exclusion. That is why the Government will invest at least £3 million over the next two years to identify and break down those barriers, making volunteering accessible to all through funding projects across country.

Asylum/Immigration

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers who had (a) signed up for and (b) not signed up for section 4 support have returned home since the introduction of section 4 support, broken down by country of origin. [49090]

Mr. McNulty: Statistics on the number of unsuccessful asylum seekers who have left the UK do not distinguish between those who have received section 4 support and those who have not. The available information on the number of unsuccessful asylum seekers who have returned in the last quarter for which figures are available is contained in the table. During this period the total number on section 4 support increased from 6,715 to 7,630 excluding dependants. Asylum statistics can be found on the Home Office website at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds
Top 10 asylum removal nationalities (principal applicants)

Number
Serbia and Montenegro440
Afghanistan325
Iraq255
Turkey225
Pakistan180
Nigeria170
Iran155
Albania145
India120
China100
Other nationalities1,350
Total3,460

 
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Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what status failed asylum seekers have whose country of origin has refused to accept them on deportation and who have been returned to the UK; what provision is made by the Department in such cases; and if he will make a statement. [50018]

Mr. McNulty: Failed asylum seekers whose country of origin has refused to accept them on removal and who have been returned to the UK will not be granted leave to enter or remain. If they are granted temporary admission we will make further attempts to remove them through re-documentation or the use of international instruments as appropriate.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers with dental qualifications entered the UK in each of the last three years. [50656]

Mr. McNulty: Information on how many asylum seekers with dental qualifications have entered the UK is not available.

Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he gives to his officials on the time in which they should respond to requests for information to process entry clearance applications from overseas posts. [50063]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 9 February 2006]: There exists a Service Level Agreement between UKvisas and IND (Evidence & Enquiry Unit), which sets a process time of 25 days from receipt of straightforward written inquiries from posts abroad to the despatch of responses.

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether those convicted of offences involving incitement to violence will be covered by his powers to deprive people of (a) citizenship and (b) abode as set out in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill; and if he will make a statement. [50174]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 9 February 2006]: This kind of offence might well lead us to explore the possibility of taking deprivation action. It would depend on the precise circumstances of the offence and the full context. We would need to make a judgment about the seriousness of the offence and whether it was conducive to the public good to take such action.

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many (a) immigration and (b) asylum applications switched to spouse status in each year since 1992, broken down by country of origin; [49072]

(2) how many asylum applicants switched to migration applications in each year since 1992. [49110]


 
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Mr. McNulty: Migrants who wish to vary the basis of their stay while in the UK must meet the relevant requirements of the immigration rules. There has never been any provision for asylum applicants to switch into managed migration routes, including marriage. Statistics on switching into the marriage category from other immigration categories are not available.

However, each case is considered on its individual merits, and caseworkers have discretion to grant leave where there are particular compelling circumstances. To compile statistics would require review of individual cases and hence the information requested is available only at disproportionate cost.

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) work permit recipients and (b) immigration applicants switched to asylum applications in each year since 1992. [49109]

Mr. McNulty: Any migrant who is in the UK under an Immigration Rules category such as work permit holder can make a claim for asylum if they believe they have a well founded fear of return under the UN Convention. There are no published statistics on the numbers of people in the UK in another capacity who subsequently make a claim for asylum.

The number of work permit recipients who switched to asylum applications in each year since 2003 (according to our CID records) are:
Number
200341
200433
200549

The number of other immigration applications who switched to asylum applications in each year since 2003 (according to our CID records) are:
Number
2003897
2004778
2005719

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Joseph Thabet, reference LR1921 00 5904, will receive notification of his immigration status. [50307]

Mr. McNulty: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) wrote to Mr. Thabet advising him of his immigration status on 6 February. IND also wrote to the hon. Member to advise him of the outcome of this case on 8 February.

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list ports and airports which have had a permanent presence of immigration officials in each year since 1999–2000. [49753]

Mr. McNulty: Immigration coverage of international arrivals is based upon a range of factors, including the nature and frequency of traffic and the numbers of passengers requiring leave to enter at each port. There are currently 41 manned ports, of which 16 are staffed
 
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24 hours a day in the UK. These ports are Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Robin Hood, Stansted, Harwich and Portsmouth. All except Robin Hood have been staffed permanently since 1999. Robin Hood opened in 2005 and has been staffed 24 hours a day since then. Other ports are covered on a risk assessed and intelligence basis. Officers are deployed to unmanned ports to meet specific arrivals where necessary.


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