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17 Dec 2007 : Column 959W—continued

Frontiers: Personal Records

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make a statement on the inclusion of passenger name record information in the e-borders programme. [163787]

Mr. Byrne: Legislation will shortly be introduced to require carriers to provide Travel Document Information (TDI) together with Passenger Name Record data (PNR) (otherwise known as Other Passenger Information (OPI) to e-Borders to the extent that it is known to the carrier.

From March 2008 those carriers which provide OPI data under existing arrangements to Project Semaphore, the e-Borders pilot project, will be expected to continue to do so. The Government have funded transmission and transaction costs together with some systems change costs of participation in this pilot. Analysis of both OPI and TDI data has delivered significant operational benefits to border agencies, contributing to the arrest of individuals wanted for offences including murder, drug smuggling, rape and assault; and has led to the seizure of counterfeit travel documents, drugs and contraband. This arrangement however, was always with the understanding that the funding would cease in March 2008 and we will continue to fulfil our undertaking to industry to meet these costs until then.

The e-Borders Programme will cover 95 per cent. of passenger movements by 2010 and is committed to using all reasonable efforts to achieve a fair roll out. This will be implemented progressively, in a consultative and collaborative manner with carriers and port operators.

Genetics: Databases

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children in (a) the East of England and (b) Suffolk have their DNA stored on a database; and how many of those have been charged with committing a criminal offence. [162595]

Meg Hillier: The number of individuals on the national DNA database aged under 16 as at 25 October 2007, whose records were added by forces in the East of England including Suffolk, is as follows:


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Number

Bedfordshire

1,144

Cambridgeshire

1,666

Essex

4,565

Hertfordshire

2,267

Norfolk

1,636

Suffolk

1,593

Total

12,873


Information on the NDNAD is recorded on the basis of the police force which took the DNA sample. The address of the person sampled is not recorded. Thus the figure for Suffolk (for example) includes people from outside Suffolk whose DNA was sampled by Suffolk police, and excludes people from Suffolk whose DNA was sampled by forces elsewhere.

The individuals shown are those who were under 16 on 25 October 2007. Individuals who were under 16 at the time a DNA sample was taken from them, but were over 16 on this date, are not included in the figures.

A certain number of profiles held on the NDNAD are replicates, i.e. a profile for a person has been loaded on more than one occasion (one reason for this is that the person gave different names, or different versions of their name, on separate arrests). At present, the replication rate is 13.7 per cent. i.e. the number of people whose details are loaded is 13.7 per cent. less than the number of profiles. The number of individuals shown is calculated on this basis.

The national DNA database records the DNA profile for a particular individual. It does not hold data on whether people have been charged with an offence. This information is held on the police national computer. Obtaining information on the number of under-16s whose DNA was sampled by Suffolk police, who have been charged with a criminal offence, would require cross searching of records held on the PNC against the NDNAD, which could be done only at disproportionate cost.

Human Trafficking

Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government will ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. [172592]

Mr. Coaker: The Government are committed to ratifying the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings as soon as possible as part of our ongoing anti-trafficking strategy, set out in the comprehensive UK Action Plan on tackling human trafficking. We will not ratify the Convention until it is certain that we have implemented it in full because our legal system, unlike in some other signatory countries, requires full compliance with a Convention before ratification.

Identity Cards

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) for what reasons her Department revised its estimate of the portion of the total cost of the identity card and biometric passport scheme that would be incurred in order to introduce the second biometric passport in June 2007; [164765]

(2) what assumptions formed the basis of her Department's estimate in June 2007 that biometric passports accounted for 70 per cent. of the total cost of the biometric passport and ID card scheme; [164967]


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(3) what assumptions underlay her Department's estimate of the apportionment of costs between passports and identity cards in the Identity Cards Scheme Cost Report published in November 2007. [164968]

Meg Hillier: the latest six monthly Identity Cards Scheme Cost Report, published on 8 November 2007, sets out those elements of the cost estimates that relate specifically to passports, those specific to identity cards and those that are common to both. The cost of registering individuals for passports and ID cards is included in common costs because the same technology infrastructure and business processes will be used. In many cases, the same application will result in the issue of both a passport and an ID card.

The latest cost report may be found at:

I would refer the hon. Member to that report.

A similar analysis of cost assumptions was undertaken previously in June 2007 to derive the proportion of costs that would be required under the scheme for biometric passport purposes. The June 2007 cost estimates, and the November 2007 cost report figures, are not comparable as they cover different time periods, as required under the ID Cards Act.

The details assumptions that underpin the Business Case and Cost Report of the National Identity Scheme are commercially sensitive. Release of this detailed information could jeopardise the recently commenced procurement dialogue with potential suppliers of services under the scheme.

Illegal Immigrants: Employment

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many employers were fined in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007 for knowingly employing an illegal immigrant; [169703]

(2) how many cases there were where an employer has been found to knowingly employ an illegal immigrant but was not fined in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007. [169707]

Mr. Byrne: Statistics showing the number of defendants proceeded against and found guilty under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, in 2005 and 2006, in England and Wales, are shown in the following table. All defendants found guilty of this offence were given a fine, with the exception of one defendant in 2005 who was given a conditional discharge.

Information on persons proceeded against for offences under Immigration Acts 1971 to 2004 during 2007 will be available in the autumn of 2008.

Information on whether or not the defendants were aware of the immigration status of their employees is not available and would be available only by the examination of individual case files at disproportionate cost, because this has not been a specific offence.

Difficulties in securing prosecutions under the 1996 legislation led us to bring forward the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 to tackle illegal migrant working, which will provide the Border and Immigration Agency with a wider and more effective
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range of tools with which to tackle non-compliance. The 2006 Act introduces a system of civil penalties for employers who employ illegal migrants through less than diligent practices, alongside a tough new offence for those who knowingly employ illegal migrants, which will carry a maximum two year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine. These new measures will come into force on 29 February 2008.

Published statistics on immigration and asylum are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts under Section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 (Employing a person aged 16 and above subject to immigration control), 2005 to 2006( 1, 2: ) England and Wales
Number of persons
2005 2006( 3)

Proceeded against

23

11

Found guilty

13

7

(1) Principal immigration offence.
(2 )Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3 )Figures are provisional.

Illegal Workers

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether (a) Government Departments and (b) executive agencies will be liable to pay the proposed £10,000 civil penalty for employing illegal workers. [172958]

Mr. Byrne: People employed to work on Government departmental and executive agency premises whether employed directly by the Government Department, the executive agency or provided by an independent employer are required to satisfy requirements on identity, nationality and immigration status.

Independent employers, such as contractors, with staff working in Government Department and executive agency buildings will not enjoy this immunity.

The Border and Immigration Agency has the prime responsibility for identifying employees working illegally and taking action in such circumstances. This could include the removal of the employee from the United Kingdom and, subject to Crown immunity, the conviction of the employer under current legislation and the liability to a civil penalty and conviction under the proposed legislation which is due to be implemented on 29 February 2008.

Immigration Controls

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in her Department will be assigned to process (a) requests for a licence to sponsor foreign migrants and (b) migrant sponsor certificates. [172963]


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Mr. Byrne: Further planning and analysis in advance of the implementation of the points based system will refine and finalise staff numbers.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate she has made of the likely cost to local authorities of (a) becoming licensed to sponsor migrants and (b) issuing certificates of sponsorship to migrants; [172964]

(2) what estimates she has made of the likely cost to the national health service of it (a) becoming licensed to sponsor migrants and (b) issuing certificates of sponsorship to migrants. [172967]

Mr. Byrne: The proposed fee levels for sponsorship registration and for issuing a certificate of sponsorship to migrants will be set out in regulations before Parliament in the new year, including appropriate impact assessments to support our proposals.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff in (a) her Department and (b) its agencies will be responsible for checking that licensed immigration sponsors are compliant with procedures when her Department begins to license organisations for the sponsorship of migrant workers. [172971]

Mr. Byrne: Further planning and analysis in advance of the implementation of the Points Based System will refine and finalise staff numbers.

Immigration: Children

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to help children in immigration removal centres who are suffering from (a) post-traumatic stress disorder, (b) self-harming, (c) suicide attempts, (d) depression and (e) psychological trauma as a result of torture; and if she will make a statement. [172614]

Mr. Byrne: All those held in immigration removal centres must have available to them the same range and quality of service as the general public receives from the national health service. Where necessary, removal centre healthcare teams will refer detainees to specialists, including counsellors.

Detainees are medically screened within two hours of their arrival at a removal centre and this includes an assessment for risk of self-harm or suicidal behaviour. Where there is concern that a person presents such a risk, measures are triggered to ensure that the person concerned receives appropriate care. Part of that care will involve the need to monitor and engage with the person concerned. This applies to both adults and children.

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations her Department (a) has had and (b) is planning to have with charities and other NGOs working with children in immigration removal centres; and if she will make a statement. [172633]

Mr. Byrne: The Border and Immigration Agency consults with various stakeholders. With regard to immigration detention, matters are able to be raised in
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the Detention User Group, which meets quarterly. A variety of NGOs are represented at these meetings; members of the group are also able to raise any issue outside of the meetings and have direct access to officials should they have a particular concern.

Moreover, the Border and Immigration Agency's Office of the Children's Champion (OCC) has established strong links with the Children's Commissioner for England, Sir Al Aynsley-Green. In agreement with the Children's Commissioners for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Sir Al Aynsley Green also represents them in immigration matters.

The OCC has also attended events regarding the detention of children at which child welfare agencies from the voluntary and statutory sector were represented. It has also hosted a conference for health professionals to discuss services for children at Yarl's Wood Removal Centre, the main centre for holding families with children. Attendees included medical researchers and national campaigners for immigrant children.

Immigration: Detention Centres

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if her Department will introduce limits on the amount of time children may be held in immigration removal centres. [172747]

Mr. Byrne: Although Immigration Act powers of detention are not time limited, domestic and ECHR caselaw provides that detention must last for no longer than is reasonably necessary for the purpose for which it is authorised and must not be of excessive duration.

The detention of families with children is kept to the minimum period necessary and is subject to frequent and rigorous review, including ministerial authorisation in those cases where detention reaches 28 days. Where family detention is prolonged it is often because parents seek to frustrate the removal process. To introduce a time limit on detention would reward such behaviour and that would be unacceptable.

Immigration: Hillingdon

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the costs incurred by (a) Hillingdon police and (b) the London borough of Hillingdon as a result of (i) immigration, (ii) illegal immigration and (iii) the presence of asylum seekers who have exhausted all appeals in the latest period for which figures are available. [171112]

Mr. McNulty: Costs to the police are not separately identified. Decisions on the distribution of resources are a matter for the Commissioner and the Metropolitan police authority.

Costs to the London borough of Hillingdon are also not separately identified.

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers who had exhausted all appeals were resident in the London Borough of Hillingdon in each year since 1997, broken down by country of origin. [171117]


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