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12 Jun 2008 : Column 477W

Illegal Immigrants

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations she has made to French authorities in Calais on the use by British border guards of X-ray machines to detect illegal immigrants in lorries; and if she will make a statement. [178842]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 30 January 2008]: The UK and France are committed to working jointly to tackle the issue of illegal immigration. This commitment was further enhanced at the recent UK-France summit. During the summit, British and French Ministers agreed to implement a number of measures to strengthen the security and quality of border controls in Calais and to develop a joint action plan to look more broadly at the continuing pressure from illegal migration in the Pas de Calais region.

In addition to these concrete proposals on further improving the very effective measures already in place to combat cross channel people smuggling and abuse of UK immigration laws, we continue to explain to the French Government the benefits of deploying gamma scanners in France in order to seek agreement to their deployment.

Although current French domestic health and safety legislation prevents the use of X-ray and gamma ray radiation for the purpose of searching for people we do deploy gamma ray search scanners to search for clandestines in the UK and Belgium.

In France, the Border and Immigration Agency uses a range of effective detection technology to search for people. This includes passive millimetre wave imaging which uses natural radiation, heartbeat detections, carbon dioxide probes and search dogs.

The UK and France are committed to combating illegal immigration and in the port of Calais throughout 2007, with the assistance of Calais Chamber of Commerce (CCCI), Eamus Cork Security (ECS), Border and Immigration Agency staff successfully prevented 11,700 clandestine attempts from crossing the channel to enter the UK. An additional 2,159 people were also refused entry to the UK.


12 Jun 2008 : Column 478W

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the oral answer of 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1040, what definition of lorry drops her Department uses in relation to the detection and detaining of suspected illegal immigrants. [202570]

Mr. Byrne: Clandestine illegal entrants include those who enter concealed in a vehicle including lorries, vans, caravans, motor homes or any other commercial vehicle. If a police or immigration officer is satisfied that an illegal entrant has arrived clandestinely within the last 72 hours, by whatever means of transport, then the person's arrival is a clandestine event. In enforcement this is commonly referred to as a “lorry drop”.

Illegal Immigrants: Employment

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) companies and (b) individuals have been successfully prosecuted for employing illegal immigrants. [175177]

Mr. Byrne: National Statistics showing the number of persons proceeded against and found guilty under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 in England and Wales are shown in the accompanying table.

The measures contained in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 to tackle illegal migrant working, which provide the UK Border Agency with a wider and more effective range of tools with which to tackle non-compliance, came into force on 29 February 2008. The 2006 Act introduced 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 carries a maximum two year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine.

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 persons proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 in England and Wales, 1997-2006( 1, 2)
Number of persons
Employing a person aged 16 and above subject to immigration control 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005( 3) 2006( 3)

Proceeded against

0

1

4

10

5

2

2

11

23

11

Found guilty

0

1

1

4

1

1

1

8

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.

Immigrants: Employment

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 19 May 2008, Official Report, columns 5-6WS, on the UK Border Agency detention estate, how many illegal working operations have been mounted in each month of 2008. [208719]

Mr. Byrne: The Government are committed to a much tougher approach to enforcing the immigration rules, including targeting illegal migrant working and its harmful social effects.

The number of illegal working operations in each month of 2008 and 2007 (1 January to 30 April each year) are as follows:


12 Jun 2008 : Column 479W
Illegal working enforcement visits
2007 2008

January

496

914

February

464

732

March

490

668

April

489

589


The total number of operations carried out in the first four months of 2008 is 2,903. This is an increase of 49 per cent. in comparison with the same period in 2007. The data provided is management information. It may be subject to change and does not represent published national statistics.

Immigrants: Detainees

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any civil proceedings were settled in court against (a) her Department's employees and (b) contractors' employees, including immigration removal centre staff and immigration escort staff, for assaults against immigrants detained in immigration removal centres or immigrants who have formally been detained in immigration removal centres in the latest period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [208821]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 9 June 2008]: The UK Border Agency does not hold this information in the format requested.

Immigration: Catering

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the demand for and supply of labour in the ethnic catering business and the effect on immigration policies; whether she plans to give consideration to placing all ethnic catering on the shortage occupation list; and how many immigration enforcement raids there have been in the last 12 months in (a) the UK and (b) the south-west on catering outlets. [203330]

Mr. Byrne: It will be for the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to make an assessment of labour market conditions in particular sectors of the economy and advise whether, as a consequence, particular occupations should appear on the shortage occupation list. The MAC has been tasked with producing a shortage occupation list in June 2008.

Internal management information, which may be subject to change, indicates that there were a total of 3,473 enforcement visits carried out at restaurants and takeaways in 2007-08 of which 420 were carried out in Wales and the south-west for the same period.

Immigration: Local Authorities

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department further to the answer of 28 April 2008, Official Report, column 96W, on immigration: local authorities, which local authorities have (a) expressed an interest in submitting claims and (b) submitted a claim to the transitional costs fund; what
12 Jun 2008 : Column 480W
the value of claims submitted is; what the timetable for (i) submitting claims and (ii) receiving payment is; and what plans she has for a transitional costs fund for subsequent years. [203510]

Mr. Byrne: We do not hold information centrally on those local authorities who have expressed an interest in submitting a claim.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply published on 26 March 2008, Official Report, column 276W.

Originally the timetable was for initial claims to be made by January 15 with payment by February, further claims to be made by 30 April with payment by May/June 2008 and remaining claims for 2007-08 were requested to be received by 30 June 2008. The 30 April deadline was extended to 23 May in order to give local authorities more time to complete their claim. Final claims for reimbursement during 2008-09 should be made by 31 March 2009.

In regard to future plans the UK Border Agency will be in touch with key local stakeholders including local authorities, via the regional links already in place to further discuss how we can best plan the conclusion of cases going forward in their local area.

Immigration: Tribunals

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average number of cases presented in asylum and immigration tribunals by each of her Department’s presenting officers was in 2007. [209079]

Mr. Byrne: Information on the average number of cases presented by a presenting officer is not available. However, a full-time presenting officer is expected to go to court 11 days per month and present a scheduled list of cases on each of those days. Depending on the different types of cases listed (asylum, managed migration, entry clearance) and the time they take to be heard, the number to be presented can vary from one to eight per day.

London Airports

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times her Department hired VIP facilities at (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick, (c) Luton and (d) Stansted airports in each month since May 2006; and what the expenditure on VIP facilities at each was in each of those months. [205004]

Mr. Byrne: The Home Office accounting system does not separately identify expenditure on usage of VIP lounges. To provide the requested detail would incur disproportionate cost.

Members: Correspondence

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reasons are for the time taken to reply to the letter of 29 February 2008 from the hon. Member for North Down in relation to Mrs Margaret Rippey. [209624]


12 Jun 2008 : Column 481W

Mr. Byrne: The delay was due to an administrative error.

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to reply to the letter of 3 January 2008 from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, transferred from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 2 April, on the security of personal data of British nationals. [209982]

Mr. Byrne: [holding answer 10 June 2008]: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport offered the hon. Member's letter to the Home Office for reply on 2 April 2008. It was declined the same day because the subject matter of the letter is not the responsibility of the Home Office.

UK Border Agency: Correspondence

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the UK Border Agency plans to respond to the letter of 27 March 2008 from the hon. Member for Walsall North on a constituent, reference M4885/8. [208653]

Mr. Byrne [holding answer 5June 2008]: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 5 June 2008.

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the UK Border Agency will reply to the right hon. Member for Warley's letter of 11 April 2008 regarding Mr Z. S. Suleiman. [209345]

Mr. Byrne: The UK Border Agency wrote to my right hon. Friend on 5 June 2008.

UK Border Agency: Training

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the length of the training period was for (a) immigration officers and (b) asylum officers before taking up their new responsibilities in the UK Border Agency. [208988]

Mr. Byrne: Immigration officers undertake an intensive five-week Learning and Development Induction Programme along with at least four weeks mentoring by a senior colleague.

Training to support the implementation of the future model for the Border Force has focused on five flagship locations (Gatwick, Edinburgh, Coquelles, Harwich and Teesport) where immigration officers are receiving an additional two days training to enable them to profile and question for customs purposes on the front-line. A number of HMRC staff joining the Border Force are receiving two weeks training to enable them to process passengers on the primary line for immigration purposes and to examine travel documents for forgery. In addition, HMRC staff at freight ports are receiving two days training to search for clandestine entrants. Following the roll-out of the flagship sites, training will be reviewed before the next phase of implementation.


12 Jun 2008 : Column 482W

All asylum case owners continue to undergo a 55-day Foundation Training Programme, including periods of mentoring and coaching, which has recently been updated to reflect internal and external feedback.

Work Permits: Health Professions

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits were issued to (a) doctors and (b) nurses from each African country in 2007. [206257]

Mr. Byrne: The following table shows the number of work permit applications from nurses and doctors from African countries that were approved in the period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007.

The figures quoted are not provided under National Statistics protocols and have been derived from local management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change.

Work permit applications cleared between 1 January and 31 December 2007
Doctor Nurse Total

Botswana

0

35

35

Burundi

0

(1)

0

Cameroon

(1)

20

20

Congo

0

(1)

0

Egypt

35

0

35

Gambia

0

10

10

Ghana

5

195

200

Kenya

(1)

90

95

Lesotho

(1)

25

25

Libya

5

0

5

Malawi

(1)

35

35

Mauritius

0

145

145

Namibia

0

10

10

Nigeria

20

385

405

Rwanda

0

(1)

0

Seychelles

0

5

5

Sierra Leone

0

20

20

Somalia

0

(1)

0

South Africa

135

540

675

Sudan

15

0

15

Swaziland

0

25

25

Tanzania

(1)

20

20

Togo

0

(1)

0

Uganda

(1)

30

30

Zambia

0

135

135

Zimbabwe

5

1,050

1,055

Total

230

2,780

3,005

(1) Indicates figure of 1 or 2. Note: Figures are rounded to nearest 5.

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