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Mr. McNulty [holding answer 2 May 2006]: The Home Secretary regularly discusses illegal immigration with his EU counterparts. Since January 2005, he has attended numerous meetings, specifically eight EU Justice and Home Affairs Councils at which this issue has been raised. In addition, he has also had numerous bilateral meetings with his EU counterparts, in smaller groups, and non EU counterparts in the margins of these meetings and in visits they have made to the UK at which discussion of illegal immigration has played a prominent part. More particularly during the UK Presidency in the second half of 2005, he ensured that specific EU attention was given to illegal immigration including organised immigration crime. An EU action plan on human trafficking was agreed as well as a new approach to migration, both legal and illegal, with
partner countries and regions, in particular Africa, which the European Council endorsed. Implementation of both of these programmes of work has begun and the UK is playing its full part in ensuring the EU delivers against the commitments made. The presidency also focused on measures to strengthen the EU's borders and, as part of work to strengthen the security of EU travel documents, reached intergovernmental agreement on non-binding common minimum security standards and issuing procedures in ID cards.
Mr. McNulty: No government has ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately, and that remains the case. Although it is impossible to determine accurately how many people are in the UK illegally, the Home Office published a report which included an estimate of the size of the illegal migrant population in the UK in 2001. A copy of the RDS On-line report 29/05 Sizing the unauthorised (illegal) migrant population in the United Kingdom in 2001 can be found at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/notes/june_summaries.html#rdsolr2905.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people living in the UK are seeking permission to remain because they do not have up to date paperwork granting them residence. 
Mr. McNulty: IND is currently meeting its service standards for in-country applications for leave to remain. These are shown on the IND website. We do not keep records of individual reasons for applications.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what definition of audited accounts he uses in relation to stipulations for indefinite leave to remain as a business person in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 1 May 2006]: Under the Immigration Rules an applicant applying for indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a person established in business is required to submit audited accounts. For operational purposes these are defined as business accounts that have been officially inspected by an independent qualified accountant.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information is given to spouse applicants for entry into the UK on (a) their legal
rights and (b) their entitlement to recourse to public funds. 
Mr. McNulty: Information about the requirements for leave to enter as a spouse is available on the IND and UK visas websites and from entry clearance posts abroad. No information is provided to applicants about their legal rights in the UK. Applicants granted leave to enter on the basis of marriage are required to demonstrate that they are able to maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds and will be given a visa stating that they have no recourse to public funds. They will only be entitled to access public funds once they have been granted indefinite leave to remain.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances public funds are made available to support a spouse entrant to the UK within the probationary period who alleges domestic abuse or violence. 
Mr. McNulty: There is provision under the Immigration Rules for a person subject to immigration control whose marriage has broken down during the probationary period due to domestic violence to apply for indefinite leave to remain. Whilst their application is pending, an applicant will not be entitled to access public funds. However, local authorities may be able to provide financial support and can assess such cases under Section 47 of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 or Section two of the Local Government Act 2000 or, if they have children, under the Children Act 1989 to determine whether they are eligible for Community Care assistance.
Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children have been detained in each UK immigration detention centre in each of the last five years; and for how long each was detained. 
Mr. McNulty: This information is not available. The accompanying table shows the number of minors detained solely under Immigration Act powers who were removed or released from detention during the third quarter of 2005, broken down by length and place of detention. Period statistics covering those leaving detention during July to September 2005 have been published. Statistics on the total number of persons under 18 years of age at the time of leaving detention during this period, broken down by length of detention are published in the Quarterly Asylum bulletin. Published editions of this bulletin and other information on immigration and asylum are available on the Home Office's Research Development and Statistics website at:http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.
|Minors recorded as being removed or released from detention (excluding Oakington) in the United Kingdom solely under Immigration Act powers, quarter three 2005, by length and place of detention( 1,2)|
|Last detained in|
|Length of detention( 3,4)||Total minors( 4,5)||Colnbrook long term||Colnbrook short term||Dungavel||Port of Dover||Tinsley House||Yarl's Wood|
|(1) Figures rounded to the nearest 5, with ? = 0, * = 1 or 2, may not sum due to rounding and exclude those whose parent(s) are detained under both criminal and immigration powers. (2) Relates to current period of sole detention only. (3) Two months is defined as 61 days; four months is defined as 122 days. (4) People recorded as being under 18 at the end of their period of detention. Figures are likely to overstate because applicants aged 18 or over may claim to be younger on arrival in the United Kingdom. (5) Some detainees may be recorded more than once if, for example, they are both bailed and subsequently removed in the time period shown.|
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons the Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, HC 974, has been withdrawn from the Vote Office of the House. 
Mr. McNulty: The Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, HC 974, was withdrawn in order to be replaced by HC 1016. The replacement Statement of Changes included all of the key policy changes in the previous statement, but with a couple of minor amendments. As explained in the Explanatory Memorandum, there were two main amendments that needed to be made. These were as follows:
The existing arrangement was preserved whereby applicants coming to the UK under ancestry provisions are given leave to enter for the entirety of the settlement qualifying period rather than being granted one period of two years and having to apply for a three-year extension before qualifying for settlement (as required in the first statement);
Prospective students hoping to remain in the UK as a student must obtain an entry clearance prior to entry (this requirement was inadvertently omitted from the first statement); since the statement was being re-laid, we took the opportunity to clarify the provisions for postgraduate doctors and dentist to make it clear that an applicant seeking leave to enter in this capacity need not have completed their degree in the previous 12 months if they have been granted leave in this capacity on an earlier occasion.
Mr. McNulty: The requested information is due to be published on 23 May in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin "Persons granted British Citizenship United Kingdom, 2005". It will be available from the Libraries of the House and from the Home Office website http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there have been for offences in relation to the non-payment of (a) business rates and (b) council tax in each year since 1997. 
Non-payment of council tax or business rates is not a criminal offence. If the appropriate reminder notices have been sent and a debt remains unpaid, a local billing authority may apply to the magistrates court for a Liability Order which formally establishes that there is a debt. The Liability Order enables enforcement action to be taken.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his Department has taken to ensure the adequate treatment of detainees with tuberculosis in (a) Colnbrook and (b) Harmondsworth detention centres. 
Mr. McNulty: Any detainee at Colnbrook and Harmondsworth diagnosed as having a confirmed case of tuberculosis will be referred to Hillingdon hospital chest clinic for management relating to drug treatment. The detainee would then be nursed in isolation in the centre's healthcare unit for a two week period. Once this period is over, the detainee would be returned to their normal location. Regular follow up would be undertaken at Hillingdon hospital on their instructions. All removal centres liaise and work with their local health authorities who would provide any necessary advice and support in the event of a major health risk in a centre.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many detainees have gone on hunger strike in (a) Colnbrook and
(b) Harmondsworth detention centres since January 2005; how many are on hunger strike; and what action has been taken to address the grievances of those who are on hunger strike. 
Mr. McNulty: After the evening meal on 3 May 2006, there were five detainees recorded at Colnbrook as not having eaten the meals provided for three days or more and one such detainee at Harmondsworth.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times since January 2004 have external units been deployed in (a) Colnbrook and (b) Harmondsworth detention centres to deal with disturbances by detainees. 
Mr. McNulty: Since January 2004, no external units have been deployed at Colnbrook to deal with disturbances by detainees. External units have been deployed on one occasion at Harmondsworth since January 2004. This was on 19 July 2004 when there was a serious disturbance at the centre.
Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Director of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate will reply to the letter of 7 February 2006 from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood on behalf of Gertrude Chiduku, Home Office reference C1083301, acknowledgement reference B3690/6. 
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights about the use of Memoranda of Understanding in respect of the return of deportees to certain countries. 
Mr. McNulty: My right hon. Friend, the former Home Secretary, has met the High Commissioner, including a bilateral meeting on 16 February this year at which they discussed the difficulties faced in balancing the prevention of terrorist attacks with the maintenance individual human rights. They did not discuss deportation Memoranda of Understanding specifically. My right hon. Friend did discuss the matter with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture last October. The issue was also discussed when senior officials met the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights who visited the UK in November. My right hon. Friend is, of course, also aware of the High Commissioner's statement on this subject, issued on Human Rights' day last year.
Mr. Plaskitt: Reform of the Child Support Agency is progressing along two tracks. The agency published its Operational Improvement Plan in February 2006 which sets out how the agency will make significant improvement to performance over the next three years. In the meantime Sir David Henshaw is developing a redesign of the child support system for the longer term and has been asked to deliver his findings to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions before the summer recess.
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