42. Sixth supplementary memorandum
submitted by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Home
OFFICIALS, 7 MARCH
Additional questions from the Committee
There seems to be a large number of organisations
and units involved to some degree with assessing and dealing with
abuse of immigration controlsUKvisas Risk Assessment Units,
the Immigration Service, the IND Intelligence Service, the police,
the Serious Organised Crime Agency [SOCA], Reflex [the anti-trafficking
task force]and each of these seems to have separate computer
systems. What are the areas in which effective information sharing
is lacking? What needs to be done in practice to ensure better
A review of IND intelligence structures was
commissioned by the IND Intelligence Service (INDIS) Director,
Dave Wilson, in 2003. This highlighted deficiencies at that time
in IND's intelligence gathering capability around such areas as
the placement of intelligence structures, processes and the deployment
of staff resources. Over the last two years following specific
tasking from the IND Senior Executive Group INDIS has led on improving
intelligence flows and the analysis of that intelligence across
the whole of IND and working to implement structural and procedural
measures to improve intelligence flows across the organisation
to enable threats to the integrity of immigration controls to
be readily identified and appropriate action to be taken to mitigate
such threats. This information is shared with UK visas and via
FCO with overseas posts.
Intelligence capability has now been established
across most IND Directorates to assess potential abuses to the
immigration control, in respect of all degrees of criminality,
and to recommend preventative action. Work is continuing with
NASS, Appeals and UKvisas to fully establish integrated intelligence
structures that will enhance the organisation's ability to effectively
identify all threats to the immigration control.
Each IND intelligence unit adheres to the principles
of the National Intelligence Model (NIM)a business model
designed to deliver intelligence-led working to law enforcement.
The model is widely used within UK Police Forces, Reflex and SOCA
and allows a commonality of understanding across organisations
and is designed to support the effective sharing of intelligence
across organisational boundaries and deliver better operational
IND intelligence units within INDIS, Enforcement
& Removals, Border Control, Managed Migration and Asylum Support,
Caseworking and Appeals Directorates now use a new intelligence
IT system, Mycroft, which has been deployed over the last
18 months and now provides a common intelligence database to which
each Directorate can contribute. Mycroft allows for a structured
process for investigating criminal targets suspected of abusing
the immigration system, whilst providing a strategic overview
of immigration organised criminality and preventing different
units across IND from investigating the same individual in isolation.
The very high volume of visa applications worldwide
(2.5 million in 2004-05) puts particular pressure on UKvisas in
respect of balancing demand and service delivery with maintaining
an effective control function. UKvisas, by nature of its overseas
front-line work, has a valuable contribution to make to the knowledge
base of the wider intelligence community. INDIS has worked with
UKvisas over the last two years to establish a network of Risk
Assessment Units (RAUs) worldwide to improve intelligence gathering
so as to identify and manage the risk of immigration abuse and
support a better informed decision making agenda. However, currently
RAUs do not have access to effective analytical resources or a
secure IT system to facilitate the effective flow of intelligence
both between RAUs and the UK. The UKvisas intelligence function
was recently examined as part of a joint Prime Minister's Delivery
Unit/UKvisas review which has recently made specific recommendations
regarding the proposed enhancement of UKvisas intelligence systems,
processes and structures overseas. A particular issue though is
that UKvisas RAUs have adopted the IND intelligence system that
preceded Mycroft. The current use of that system overseas
does not allow individual units to automatically exchange data
with UK Visas in London or other Risk Assessment Units overseas.
Similarly, at present intelligence data held on Mycroft
is not automatically available to RAUs overseas. The possible
deployment of the Mycroft system overseas within the RAUs
would have clear benefits in terms of improving secure intelligence
flows, the analytical capability of RAUs and improvement to the
operational interaction between the overseas arm of the immigration
control and the UK.
On general data exchange, sections 20 and 21
of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 created a statutory gateway
for data exchange to and from Chief Officers of Police, the Director
General of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) the
Director General of the National Crime Squad (NCS), and from 1
April 2006 SOCA, amongst others. In all circumstances intelligence
is shared and action is taken with partner agencies under the
protocols of the National Intelligence Model.
UK Police Forces, Reflex and SOCA remain key
operational partners in the fight against organised immigration
crime and staff are seconded to and from the relevant agencies
in joint working initiatives across the organisation. At a national
level IND has allocated 75 posts to SOCA, whilst regionally it
has deployed staff to Reflex joint units in London, Essex, Kent,
Merseyside and Yorkshire.
SOCA has been provided with direct access to
the IND intelligence system Mycroft and arrangements are
in place with other agencies to allow checks on a case-specific
basis. IND has access to police systems, such as PNC, and is engaged
with the police Impact Programme to secure access to the
Impact Nominal Index (INI), the precursor to a national
police intelligence database.
UKvisas has put structures for information sharing
are in place and continues to enhance operational effectiveness
by, for example, agency secondments (INDIS, WP) and the appointment
of liaison officers. The imminent restructuring and expansion
of the Control Quality section of UKvisas, a review of best practice
and greater co-ordination will also further improve operational
A key element in improving operational interaction
is the e-Borders programme, co-ordinated by IND in partnership
with the Police Service, Intelligence Agencies, HM Revenue and
Customs and UKvisas. The programme will create a modernised, integrated
border control system by providing the agencies with information
to meet counter terrorism, national security, immigration and
law enforcement requirements. The pilot for e-Borders, (Project
Semaphore) has had a positive impact on the operational effectiveness
of the agenciesas a result of greater data sharing. Recent
interventions have included police arrests of persons wanted for
serious offences; immigration enforcement action in cases of document
abuse and visas obtained by deception; and HMRC seizures of tobacco
and drugs. Legislation currently going through Parliament in the
IAN Bill is designed to maximise opportunities for data-sharing
under e-Borders, while adhering to DPA principles.
Tom Dowdall has provided an example of shared
workinga formal referrals process introduced in September
2004 where information about the visas held by arriving passengers
can be passed back from ports to UKvisas. What does UKvisas do
with this information?
UKvisas sends the details to the Entry Clearance
Manager at the Posts concerned who investigate and comment on
the cases identified. The feedback is used to assist local profiles
and to address any training needs.
Are you developing more specialist expertise amongst
front-line staff, such as the dedicated student assessment team
in Lagos, or the country-specific teams dealing with Highly Skilled
UKvisas has developed specialist teams in some
posts where staff numbers and the nature of the traffic suggests
this is sensible. For example, many of our larger posts have specialist
teams to deal with student applications. The Committee is also
aware of the specialist teams in Pakistan and Bangladesh that
deal with forced marriage cases. A balance needs to be struck
between specialism and sharing the skills across the whole team,
so many Posts rotate staff into their specialist teams.
Border Control provides specialist training
to members of staff engaged in criminal investigations through
their membership of specialist teams and units. The investigative
skills training provided to Criminal Investigation Team (CIT)
members is three weeks in duration and covers topics from sources
of law and interviewing to case file preparation and evidence
gathering. The training enables CIT staff to investigate a number
of criminal offences including forgery and counterfeiting, theft,
facilitation, deception and perjury. In addition to this, three
weeks arrest training is provided to officers equipping them with
the skills to exercise powers of arrest, search and seizure. Border
Control has approximately 50 officers of varying grades (HMI to
IO) trained in this area of work, operating from Heathrow, Gatwick,
Croydon and Stansted. Border Control also provides bespoke training
for operational staff in other areas including specialist training
for staff dealing with children and staff involved in surveillance
Within Managed Migration, casework is streamed
into three distinct areas; General Group, Work Permits (UK) and
Nationality. Within General Group there is further specialisation
in particular groups and teams. This means that caseworkers in
these teams receive relevant information and training, build up
specialist expertise and knowledge in specific case types, can
review cases more efficiently and more easily identify patterns
of suspected abuse. As an example, caseworkers on the European
group have shown skill in picking up abuse through marriage and
other documentation submitted with applications.
Two teams have specialist expertise in interviewing
techniques, one in Sheffield one in Croydon. They deal with marriage
applications and applications from unmarried partners and the
Sheffield team has recently interviewed applicants for UK ancestry
to try and identify the nature and extent of abuse via this route.
The specialist Marriage Team in Croydon deals
mainly with complex Certificate of Approval (COA) for Marriage
or Civil Partnership applications. The team also operates the
hotline for registrars who have immigration queries and monitors
the Section 24 suspicious marriage reports submitted by registrars.
The team in Sheffield also deals with all domestic violence cases.
There is a specialist team in Croydon dealing
with applications for discretionary leave to remain in the UK
for NHS medical treatment from applicants with serious medical
conditions (including HIV/AIDS). These cases are covered by specialist
policy guidance and developing caselaw. The team also maintains
up-to-the-minute information about the availability of medical
treatment abroad, collated from a broad range of sources.
We are currently reorganising work in Sheffield
and Coydon so that all student cases are dealt with on dedicated
teams, instead of spread within the general casework mix. This
will improve our ability to spot trends and to introduce the requirements
of the Points Based System. Additionally, the Student Task Force
Team in Croydon was set up in 2004 as a specific anti-abuse team,
and focuses on dealing with three areas of potential abuse: college
visits, non-attendance and casework. Another team specialises
in applications made via the Student Batch Scheme. Applications
for British Nationality are considered by dedicated teams in Liverpool.
Within Nationality casework there is further specialisation on
particular application types.
We aim to create more headroom for intelligence
driven casework, building on experience of the student work and
marriage teams, by streamlining caseworking processes. This will
be needed as the Managed Migration Intelligence Units extend their
reach, and develop the caseworker-intelligence links.
There are also a number of specialist teams
in Border Control. The establishment of a specialist "Interviewing
Minors" course followed the publication of the Unaccompanied
Minors Best Practice in 2003. A commitment has been given to Ministers
that 10% of staff at ports and Asylum Screening Units will receive
specialist training, resulting in continuous coverage of staff
at these locations.
Most ports now have "Minors Teams"
made up of specially trained staff, who deal with all cases of
unaccompanied children. These teams, as encouraged in the Best
Practice, have begun to form working relationships with their
local authorities and many have established good practices with
social services. Currently minors' teams have been established
at the following Border Control locations:
|ASU Croydon||Robin Hood Airport
|Gatwick North||Newcastle Airport
|Gatwick South||Durham Tees Valley Airport
|Heathrow Terminal 1||Harwich International Airport
|Heathrow Terminal 2||Leeds Bradford Airport
|Heathrow Terminal 3||Birmingham International Airport
|Heathrow Terminal 4||Liverpool John Lennon Airport
|Manchester||London City Airport
A three day course provides specialist interview training
and the skills needed in order to recognise signs of children
at risk. Areas covered by the course are: the legislative and
policy framework, understanding the children's experience prior
to arrival in the UK, dealing with adults, interview techniques,
managing age assessment and joint working with other professionals.
Steps are being taken to ensure that ports and ASUs are able to
reach their 10% target of trained staff and to maintain that figure
To date 495 immigration officers from ports and ASUs have
been trained in interviewing children. It is envisaged that by
the end of this current programme of courses, 607 will have been
trained. Measures will be put in place to enable UKIS to train
further staff on a rolling programme of training in order to maintain
an effective level of coverage.
The setting up of a joint-working team of Immigration and
Metropolitan Police staff was one of the recommendations of the
Paladin report. This team, known as the Paladin Team, began its
work at Heathrow in October 2005. An immigration officer and a
chief immigration officer work alongside Metropolitan Police Child
Protection Officers to safeguard vulnerable children who pass
through Heathrow airport.
Are the pay, conditions and job structures for immigration
officers, IND caseworkers and entry clearance officers good enough
to get high-quality staff making high-quality decisions, or do
they need more money, more time and better promotion prospects?
There is no evidence that there is any difficulty in recruiting
high quality staff directly linked to pay levels and, over the
last two years, 23,650 people have applied to work at IND. In
addition, a survey was carried out by the non-Agency Home Office
to benchmark the Home Office pay scales for the Caseworker grade
against the external rates prior to the 2005 Pay Award. This indicated
that the Caseworker pay scale was marginally below market but
this was addressed at the 2005 Pay Award. At ECO level we are
able to deliver staff to fill all vacancies for which the Home
Office is responsible and robust selection processes ensure that
quality is maintained.
The department has successfully improved the way that it
recruits employees and has recruited very good quality people
for the recent campaign to provide Immigration Officers to meet
the Tipping the Balance targets. Work is also currently being
undertaking in the Immigration Service to address any issues with
and to improve the career and promotion routes for this grade.
Retention rates for all of these grades are high at [over
99%] which indicates that any dissatisfaction with pay and conditions
does not prompt our permanent employees to leave.
What are the estimated non-capital costs of introducing fingerscanning
worldwide, including testing, training, staff development, staff
time and ongoing running costs?
Our current estimate of the non-capital costs of introducing
fingerscanning into the visa issuing process is £7 million,
including all staff costs. Following full rollout, we estimate
running costs will be £10 million per annum, including IT
service charges, technical support and maintenance and the anticipated
impact on staff time (UKvisas).
How many people have been refused a visa so far as a result
of fingerprint analysis? What is the projected level once fingerscanning
has been introduced world-wide?
The "proof of concept" pilots are already making
a real difference to the integrity of visa decisions in the nine
posts where they have been introduced. In those pilots, 321 applicants
have so far been refused as a result of a biometric match.
It is very difficult to predict future refusal rates on the
basis of a small number of pilots and particularly to attribute
projected refusals specifically to the capture and matching of
biometric data. For example, it is difficult to project how many
potential applicants will be deterred from applying because of
the much greater risk of discovery of previous immigration abuse
as a result of biometric matching. We anticipate the global introduction
of fingerscanning will have a lasting deterrent effect.
What is your current projection of annual numbers of low-skilled
migrants entering the UK from outside the EEA in the future?
As set out in the Five Year Strategy we intend to phase out
low-skilled migration in response to the numbers of workers available
from the newly enlarged EU. Employers are expected to recruit
from within the UK and the EU before looking to migrant labour
from outside the EU. Tier 3 of the new Points-Based System will
provide limited numbers of low skilled workers needed to fill
specific temporary labour shortages. Only where there is an identified
shortage which cannot be met from within the UK or EU will a scheme
under Tier 3 be set up.
The most recent data from the Worker Registration Scheme
(WRS) show that migrant workers are still coming to the UK in
large numbers and filling our low-skilled vacancies. Nearly 50,000
applicants registered on the WRS in the fourth quarter of 2005
compared with just over 42,000 in the same period in 2004. 79%
of all applicants on the WRS are earning between £4.50 and
£6.00 per hour.
No future low-skilled migration routes are planned at present.
The Sectors Based Scheme (SBS), which currently accounts for 3,500
migrants each year, will be terminated in December 2006. The Seasonal
Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) will be phased out by the end
of 2010. The SAWS quota is currently 16,250 per year, but this
will be reduced when Bulgaria and Romania join the EU in either
2007 or 2008.
You said that immigration from EU accession countries has resulted
in cuts in other low skilled schemes, for instance closing the
hospitality sector scheme. Could you provide more details, including:
Dates of the changes
The Sector Based Scheme (SBS) hospitality was terminated
on 30 June 2005. The Seasonal and Agricultural Workers Scheme
(SAWS) quota was cut from 25,000 in 2004 to 16,250 in 2005.
Numbers of accession-country nationals and non EEA nationals in
each relevant sector before and after the cuts
In 2004, the quota for SBS hospitality was 9,000. Between
May 2004 and December 2005 over 70,000 applicants registered on
the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) in the hospitality and catering
In 2003, almost 12,000 SAWS participants were accession country
nationals; the remaining 13,000 were made up of non-EEA nationals.
Between May 2004 and December 2005 39,000 applicants have registered
on the WRS in the agriculture sector.
Numbers of the vacancies in each relevant sector before and after
The National Statistics Labour Market Survey shows that the
Hotel and Restaurant sector had 56,000 vacancies in June 2004
and 55,600 vacancies in June 2005.
The Labour Market Survey does not provide vacancy figures
for the Agriculture sector. Many of the vacancies filled by SAWS
are seasonal in nature and therefore do not constitute a permanent
vacancy. WRS applications are also seasonal in nature (over 20,000
applications in July, and 10,000 in December).
Could you please supply copies of the fraud guidance circulated
to all front-line staff (a blue A4 publication which Dave Wilson
brought with him)?
Please see documents sent separately [not printed].
Can suspected fraudulent wage slips be checked against Inland
Revenue records to see if the person is actually being employed
and paid as claimed?
Yes, Managed Migration has an agreement with the Inland Revenue
that enables checks on suspect P60s to be made with them. In addition,
where caseworkers suspect that fraudulent wage slips may have
been submitted there are alternative options available to them.
They may make enquiries direct with the employer. Or if there
are doubts about the existence of the employer searches can be
made on the Companies House website as well as BT and Yell.com
websites. If doubts still remain about pay slips caseworkers are
authorised to write to applicants or their representatives asking
them to provide written confirmation from Inland Revenue that
they are employed as claimed.
What are the arrangements for sensitive handling of in-country
settlement applications involving suspected forced marriages?
Managed Migration has specialist expertise in interviewing
techniques for cases involving marriage and unmarried partners.
Where caseworkers are informed at interview that one of the parties
is a victim of a forced marriage, help and support (including
a "forced marriage" leaflet) is provided along with
an explanation of the implications of that person continuing to
support the application.
Managed Migration Intelligence Unit (MMIU) receives allegations
via Evidence and Enquiries (E&E) on a "forced marriage"
proforma. Reports are completed and forwarded to the most appropriate
unit (including local Intelligence and Enforcement units) for
relevant action to take place.
In addition there is a specialist Forced Marriage Unit which
is a joint operation between the Home Office and the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office. Allegations received are dealt with in the
same way as other units so where there is a duty of care the allegation
is recorded and disseminated to the appropriate unit for action
to take place.
How many applications from spouses from the Indian sub-continent
are refused each year, and what proportion of the total number
of applications is this?
Please see attached excel spreadsheet [not printed].
What work is going on with the African community to tackle
the problem of children trafficked within that community?
We are working closely with the police, statutory agencies
and community groups to ensure that children in new immigrant
groups are protected from abuse. This is particularly important
in those communities within which children are believed to be
trafficked. Following concerns about child abuse which might be
linked to belief in "possession" or "witchcraft",
the Metropolitan Police Service set up Project Violet in 2005.
The operation supports the education of new community groups in
acceptable and legal methods of child discipline in the UK, and
initiates intelligence-led investigations into allegations of
ritualistic belief-related child abuse to identify and prosecute
any offenders. The African community is a particular focus of
this activity. We will also be promoting increased collaboration
between statutory agencies, community organisations and faith
groups through the London Child Protection Committee's Community
Partnership project. This aims to build upon the positive stance
that London communities have taken, and continue to take, in their
willingness to protect children, and seeks to ensure that London's
diverse communities know how to report safeguarding concerns,
and are comfortable working in partnership with statutory agencies.
Home Office officials are working closely together with the
Police and non-Government organisations which have specialist
knowledge of both child trafficking and new immigrant communities,
to help improve intelligence gathering and understanding of cultural
issues, thus enabling better informed and more effective interventions.
An example of this approach is the commissioning of London based
charity AFRUCA (Africans Unite Against Child Abuse) to deliver
a series of focus groups with people drawn from the new African
communities in London to elicit their understanding and knowledge
of the reasons behind the trafficking and smuggling of children
from West African countries. This work will help to inform the
development of the national action pan to combat human trafficking.
We have also commissioned AFRUCA to engage with African communities
within London, setting up a number of forums for members of African
communities to raise child-related issues regarding the current
public consultation on the UK Action Plan to combat human trafficking.
On completion, AFRUCA will evaluate the responses received, and
produce a summary of the findings arising from the forums. It
is envisaged that these forums will not only enable members of
the African community to engage with Government policy, but will
also assist with the communicating with these communities as to
the dangers and issues surrounding child trafficking.
In addition, IND is working to maintain the border and immigration
controls to ensure those entitled to come to the UK can do so,
and those with no rights of entry do not; and is in the process
of re-establishing a group of stakeholders to consider the strategic
crossing points between immigration policies and the need to safeguard
children and young people.
In 2003, a multi-agency project board set up Operation Paladin
Child which was a three month scoping study was set up to quantify
the origins and numbers of children transiting through Heathrow
or arriving as Unaccompanied Minors. The project board oversaw
the operation with representatives from social services, police,
immigration service, and the NSPCC.
Additionally, over the last year the Immigration and Nationality
Directorate in the Home Office has put in place a number of initiatives
to ensure that children who are at risk are identified and referred
to the appropriate agencies. These include:
Appointing a "Children's Champion";
Establishing a Children's Taskforcewhose
remit is to ensure that the Immigration and Nationality Directorate
has adequate safeguards in place to identify children who may
be at risk;
Work on setting up a National Register of Unaccompanied
Establishment of an Advisory Group to support
the Immigration and Nationality Directorate in dealing with child
protection issuesthe group includes representatives from
NSPCC, local authorities, the Metropolitan Police, the Commission
for Social Care Inspection and CAFCASS;
New guidance to all staff on how to deal with
Development of training for staff on child protection
Closer working with local authority social services
The Children's Taskforce is taking forward issues such as
bespoke training for IND staff on child protection issues, Criminal
Record Bureau checks for INS staff, developing processes for working
with other agencies on child protection issues, developing guidance
on identifying vulnerable children, and reviewing whether it is
possible to improve the information received from posts abroad.
The National Register of Unaccompanied Children has been
developed as a secure live database, which allows local authorities
to communicate directly with each other and with IND about children
where immigration is an issue. In this way the proper authorities
can be helped to recognise and protect children who are moved
from area to area. This project helps to meet the commitment in
the Every Child Matters Green Paper to removing "legal,
technical, cultural and organisational barriers" to information