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Entry Clearances: Iraq

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Iraqi (a) interpreters and (b) other employees of the British armed forces have been granted admission to the UK. [167943]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 27 November 2007]: No Iraqi interpreters or other employees of the British armed forces have yet been granted admission to the UK under the scheme of assistance for locally engaged Iraqi staff that was announced by the Prime Minister on 8 October, and which was outlined in more detail by the Foreign Secretary in his written ministerial
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statement of 30 October. Employing Departments are in the process of confirming eligibility for the scheme from those applicants who have expressed an interest and we are working to ensure suitable reception arrangements are in place for their arrival. We anticipate the first admissions to the UK will take place in late January.

Information on how many interpreters or other employees of the British forces have been granted admission to the UK outside this scheme is only available at disproportionate cost.

Frontiers: Northern Ireland

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether there are plans to establish border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; [168401]

(2) what contribution the Irish government makes to the Common Travel Area. [168409]

Mr. Byrne: There are no fixed controls on either side of the land border and there is no intention of introducing such controls in the future for political and practical reasons.

Since 1997, Ireland has maintained an immigration control on non-CTA nationals arriving directly from the UK by air and sea. British and Irish passengers are only required to show an acceptable form of photo-identification to prove their nationality and exempt them from immigration control. Irish Garda National Immigration Bureau work collaboratively with UK border agencies and run regular intelligence-led operations to counter immigration risks to the intra CTA borders. These joint operations have successfully prevented non-CTA nationals attempting to cross the boundary illegally in both directions.

Frontiers: Security

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the implications are of an e-borders system circumscribing Great Britain for travel between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland; and what documents will be required under the proposed e-border system for travel between Britain and Northern Ireland. [168443]

Mr. Byrne: The police service already screens passengers travelling between Northern Ireland and the mainland and there are no plans to introduce passport controls for those travelling on domestic journeys.

Section 14 of the Police and Justice Act 2006 introduced a new power that will allow the police to capture passenger, crew and service information on air and sea journeys within the United Kingdom. The intention is that the power will be brought into force by secondary legislation in 2008. The specific police requirements under this power, which will include details of the routes affected and data required, are still under discussion within Government. Once the proposals have been finalised they will be subject to a 12-week public consultation.

It is expected that this police power will only apply to air and sea routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Passengers will not be required to use
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passports, but may be required to produce one of several types of documentation, including passports, when travelling, to enable the carrier to the meet the requirements of a police request.

Illegal Immigrants: Employment

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much revenue was received in fines from employers who knowingly gave a job to an illegal immigrant in (a) 2005, (b) 2006 and (c) 2007. [169705]

Mr. Byrne: Under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 it is a criminal offence to employ a person, aged 16 or over, who is subject to immigration control and who is not entitled to work in the UK or to undertake the employment in question. Prosecution statistics for section 8 collated by the Border and Immigration Agency do not distinguish between cases involving employers convicted because they simply failed to carry out specified document checks and those cases in which employers were found knowingly to have acted in contravention of the 1996 Act and lost their statutory defence against conviction.

Information is available on total fines imposed by the courts following conviction for the section 8 offence. In 2006, the total amount imposed in fines by the courts under section 8 was £25,570. In 2007 (up to and including 30 November 2007), the total amount imposed by the courts was £41,623. The Border and Immigration Agency's crime management information database was established on 1 April 2006 and figures from before this date are not available. These figures represent management information which is updated on a daily basis and may be subject to change. These figures represent prosecutions instigated by investigators in the Enforcement and Compliance Directorate of the Border and Immigration Agency only.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many illegal immigrants have been found to be employed by her Department in 2007. [173383]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 11 December 2007]: I informed the House—17 December 2007, Official Report, column 966W—that, as a result of prioritised enforcement action undertaken by the Border and Immigration Agency with respect to the Security Industry, one member of staff employed by a sub-contractor providing services to the Department was identified as not having the right to work within the United Kingdom. This person was immediately detained and has since been deported.

As a result of this discovery, the permanent secretary ordered a review of the immigration status and entitlement to work in the United Kingdom of over 30,000 people employed by and contracted to the Department.

This review will be completed by the end of February 2008.


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Immigration Controls

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for which compliance offences by sponsors of migrants her Department plans to seek (a) civil penalties and (b) prosecution. [172965]

Mr. Byrne: The employment of an illegal migrant worker who does not have leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or is not permitted to undertake the employment in question, may make an employer liable for payment of a civil penalty or prosecution under the new measures in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, which will come into force on 29 February 2008. The law on preventing illegal migrant working in the United Kingdom (UK) applies to all UK employers, whether or not they are licensed to sponsor migrant workers.

Employers who are on the points based system register of licensed sponsors will face alternative sanctions for failing to comply with their responsibilities, as set out in the statement of intent for sponsorship under the points based system. For instance, non-compliant sponsors may and in some cases must have their licence withdrawn or downgraded from being an A-rated sponsor to being a rated sponsor. If an employer who is also a sponsor is found to have employed illegal migrants that will be taken into account in reviewing their sponsorship status.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate her Department has made of the number of organisations that are likely to be B-rated when her Department begins to license organisations for the sponsorship of migrant workers; and if she will make a statement. [172974]

Mr. Byrne: The criteria for B-rated sponsors have clearly been set out in the Statement of Intent. However, it is not possible to predict accurately sponsor behaviour and hence the number of organisations that will be B-rated.

Immigration: Crime

Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were detained for suspected immigration offences in each of the last 10 years. [177038]

Mr. Byrne: The requested information is not available.

The Home Office publishes a quarterly snapshot of people detained solely under Immigration Act powers on the last Saturday of each quarter starting from the third quarter of 2001. These data exclude persons detained in police cells and those detained under both criminal and immigration powers.

Statistics on persons recorded as leaving detention solely under Immigration Act powers during 2005 and between January and September 2006 have also been published.

The number of prisoners detained awaiting trial for immigration offences is not available because the offences are not recorded centrally to this level of detail.


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Copies of these publications may be found in the quarterly asylum web pages and in the annual statistical bulletin Asylum Statistics United Kingdom and the Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom. Copies of these publications and others relating to general immigration to the UK are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at:

Immigration: Hillingdon

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to remove asylum seekers who have exhausted all appeals in the London Borough of Hillingdon. [171115]

Mr. Byrne: The removal of asylum seekers who have exhausted all appeals remains a priority for the Border and Immigration Agency across the United Kingdom. We are committed to clearing, by July 2011, the backlog of unresolved electronic and paper asylum records within the Border and Immigration Agency.

Since 5 March 2007, regional asylum teams have managed all new asylum claims under an end-to-end case ownership process. Asylum case owners in West London are working with all of their local authorities, including Hillingdon, to manage cases through to integration or removal. The asylum teams have a target of 40 per cent. of cases to be concluded within six months by December 2007.

Immigration: Manpower

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the caseworkers for the immigration legacy exercise were recruited and on what basis; and if she will make a statement. [177353]

Mr. Byrne: Permanent members of staff deployed as caseworkers in the case resolution directorate of the Border and Immigration Agency have been selected on merit through fair and open competition and in accordance with the Civil Service Commissioners' Recruitment Code.

Migrant Workers

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what checks are carried out by her Department into the nationality and immigration status of job applicants before offers of employment are made; and if she will make a statement. [177861]

Jacqui Smith: Potential Home Office employees who are UK citizens may demonstrate their identity in a variety of ways in accordance with central guidance promulgated by the Cabinet Office; for example, by presenting a passport, current UK photo driving license or birth certificate. Electronic and paper records held by the Department and its agencies are also used to help validate the evidence supplied by the applicant. Where an applicant is not a UK citizen, the
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Department undertakes checks to demonstrate that the individual is lawfully in the UK and entitled to work in the UK.

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what checks employers are expected to carry out on the nationality and immigration status of job applicants before offers of employment are made; and if she will make a statement. [177862]

Jacqui Smith: Employers are advised to see, copy and retain the copy of specified document(s) belonging to prospective employees that demonstrate that they are entitled to undertake the employment in question. Such action provides a statutory defence against a conviction for the offence of employing an illegal migrant worker under section eight of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996. The employer must also satisfy himself that the document(s) belong to the holder.

Such document(s) are issued or endorsed by the UK Government or issued by another Government and demonstrate that the individual is lawfully in the UK and entitled to undertake the work in question. Some documents, such as a full UK birth certificate, will only provide a statutory defence when produced in combination with other documents such as an appropriately documented permanent national insurance number.

Employers are advised to undertake these checks on every prospective employee. An individual’s race, ethnicity or religion is no indication of their right to work here and employers have a legal duty under race relations legislation to avoid unlawfully discriminating on racial grounds.

Migrants: English Language

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the pass rate was of those taking the (a) English language test and (b) Life in the UK test with a view to obtaining UK citizenship in each year since these requirements were introduced; and how many people (i) took and (ii) passed these tests in each year, broken down by nationality. [162957]

Mr. Byrne: The English Language tests are provided by a variety of further education, adult and community colleges across the UK and information on the numbers taking these courses and the pass rate for these courses is not available.

The Knowledge of Life (KOL) test was introduced in November 2005 for citizenship applicants. The overall pass rate since the test was introduced is 67.5 per cent. A breakdown of the numbers taking the test for each year with a view to applying for citizenship is as follows:

The aforementioned information is based on the information provided by applicants when taking their test. In April 2007 the Home Office extended the
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Knowledge of Life test to those applying for settlement in the UK. Some applicants who intended to apply for citizenship may have in error selected settlement as the reason for taking their test.

The pass rates for different nationalities are set out in the tables placed in the House Library. This information is based on the nationality selected by applicants when taking their test. Some applicants through human error may select the wrong nationality.

Mr. Chanceless Takaruva

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the residency status is of Mr. Chanceless Takaruva and his family, residents of Skelmersdale, West Lancashire (Home Office ref: T1095080). [178930]

Mr. Byrne: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 287W.

National Asylum Support Service and the Border and Immigration Agency

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) people and (b) units of accommodation were supported by the National Asylum Support Service and the Border and Immigration Agency in the City of Newcastle through (i) the city as housing provider and (ii) other providers in each quarter of (A) 2005, (B) 2006 and (C) 2007. [172045]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 6 December 2007]: The statistics relating to asylum seekers in receipt of support are published on a quarterly and annual basis. Copies of the reports are available in the House of Commons Library and on the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at:

Further breakdowns of those in receipt of support from Borders and Immigration Agency, by parliamentary constituency, are also available from the Library of the House.

The total number of cases supported in accommodation in Newcastle upon Tyne at the end of each of the relevant quarters split between cases accommodated by North East Consortium for Asylum and Refugee Support (NECARS) and by other providers. The City of Newcastle is the consortium provider in Newcastle upon Tyne. These data are in the following table.


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Quarter Other NECARS

2005

Q1

350

340

Q2

300

320

Q3

260

300

Q4

200

310

2006

Q1

140

310

Q2

190

320

Q3

290

390

Q4

300

380

2007

Q1

370

350

Q2

410

350

Q3

320

530


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