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The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. Tony McNulty): I have, as of 12 February, made changes to the immigration rules regarding children coming to the United Kingdom with a visa or entry clearance issued for the purpose of a visit. Some of these are accompanied by adults; many are not accompanied by an adult even though it has in the past been possible to obtain a visa without declaring that this will be the nature of the journey made. These changes will, therefore, provide further safeguards for children when entering the UK as visitors.
We will require that a child seeking to visit the UK in their own right, i.e. unaccompanied, must demonstrate that there are adequate arrangements for their care here and that they identify a person in their home country who is responsible for them.
Where a visa national child is seeking entry to the UK as a visitor in the company of an adult, that adult must be identified, and the child's visa must identify the adult with whom they seek to enter.
At present a child can apply for entry clearance at the same time as other close family members, be granted an entry clearance, and then travel to the UK either alone or in the company of an adult other than one of those who applied for a visa along with them. This can allow children to enter the UK in the company of an adult who is either unrelated or with whom they have little connection. By doing this they can evade the extra scrutiny of the reception and care arrangements awaiting the child in the UK which is given to children who travel unaccompanied. Some instances can be well intentioned but highly irregular, but in others the child is used to facilitate fraud, and can endure serious physical harm. However, the main cause of concern is the subsequent difficulty in tracing these children.
The Rules will now contain additional requirements for visa national children coming to the UK for a visit, be they travelling alone or with an adult. Each child will be issued with a separate entry clearance vignette. When
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applying for a visa for a child, the parent or guardian will be required to indicate whether the child will travel to the UK alone or with a nominated adult. The child's entry clearance will be endorsed to indicate the adult who will accompany the child. The entry clearance will not be valid for travel other than when accompanied by the identified adult. The visitor rules have been amended to reflect this (at Paragraphs 4146F of the Immigration Rules).
The changes will create an official and accessible record which is not there at the moment. These measures are aimed at tackling some of the problems associated with unaccompanied minors arriving in the United Kingdom, chief of which is the lack of information about their circumstances in their home country. They will contribute to the ability to act, where necessary, when individual children come to attention after arrival for welfare and other reasons. They will ensure that children who enter the UK in the company of an adult do so in a recorded way, with a specific destination for their future care, and with a record of their parents' details in the place where the entry clearance was issued. The records which this provision will allow us to keep will be a deterrent to abuse, as all of those involved in the child's travel will be traceable.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Alistair Darling): I am today announcing 32 locations around the UK coast that have been identified as Marine Environmental High Risk Areas (MEHRAs). The locations of these areas have been identified after taking into account shipping risk, environmental sensitivity and other environmental protection measures already in place at each location and follow recommendations made by the late Lord Donaldson in his report "Safer Ships, Cleaner Seas".
MEHRAs will be an essential aid to passage planning since their primary purpose is to inform ships' masters of areas where they need to exercise even more caution
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than usual. This is just part of the information available to mariners to enable them to navigate UK waters safely.
MEHRAs will now be notified by a Marine Guidance Note to mariners who will be expected to exercise an even higher degree of care than usual when passing through them. They will also be marked on Admiralty charts.
|Expenditure Classified as DEL||12,242,287||245,176||12,487,463|
|Expenditure Classified as AME||500,371||53,513||553,884|
|Total Managed Expenditure||12,742,658||298,689||13,041,347|
|Non Voted expenditure|
|LA Credit Approvals||163,354||0||163,354|
|Resource Budgeting adjustments|
|Cost of Capital||421,584||0||421,584|
|Total Resource budgeting adjustments||679,091||96,780||775,871|
|TOTAL NON VOTED TME||848,523||96,780||945,303|
|TOTAL VOTED TME||11,894,135||201,909||12,096,044|
|Receipts from the EU||-234,248||0||-234,248|
|Contributions from the National Insurance Fund||-821,843||78,626||-743,217|
|Receipts from the Rural Payments Agency||-219,990||-53,512||-273,502|
|TOTAL ASSEMBLY GRANT||10,618,054||227,023||10,845,077|
|Expenditure classified as DEL||3,913||606||4,519|