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Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the (a) number and (b) average age on entry of gap year students entering the United Kingdom to work in the education sector. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 7 July 2008]: Since 2005 the Gap Year Entrant for Work in Schools entry category has been in operation as a concessionary arrangement outside the immigration rules. It allows overseas students age 17-19 to take employment in a teaching/teaching assistant capacity in schools in the UK for 12 months prior to commencing their degree level studies overseas. The total number of visas issued in this category is as follows.
While estimated future demand for visas is confined to broader entry categories (e.g. visitors, students, employment, settlement), the demand for gap year work visas has clearly been steady around 800 per year.
It should be noted that some gap year students also enter under the Working Holiday Scheme for young Commonwealth citizens, and under the concession for voluntary workers outside the immigration rules. However, no data are available for these entrants as it is not possible to distinguish them from others entering in these categories.
Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department plans to alter the visa requirements for gap year students entering the UK to work in the education sector; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne [holding answer 7 July 2008]: All our existing youth mobility-type provisions, including the concession for Gap Year Entrants for Work in Schools, are to be abolished later this year when the new international Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) is launched under Tier 5 of the Points Based System (PBS). Details of the Youth Mobility Scheme are set out in the Statement of Intent for Tier 5 of the PBS, which was published on 8 May. Participants in the new scheme will be free to do most work of choice, including work in schools.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many students participating in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme did not return to their country of origin at the end of their placement under the scheme in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: Since the phasing out of border controls in 1994, no Government have ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally. That includes students participating in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme who subsequently failed to return to their country of origin at the end of their placement. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately, and that remains the case.
As part of the Governments 10-point plan for delivery, by Christmas 2008 the majority of foreign nationals will be counted in and out of the country. This will build on the successes of our early testing of the e-Borders programme (Project Semaphore) which already covers over 30 million passenger movements and has led to 18,000 alerts and more than 1,500 arrests.
This is part of a sweeping programme of border protection which also includes the global roll-out of fingerprint visas, compulsory watch-list checks for all travellers from high-risk countries before they land in Britain, and ID cards for foreign nationals.
On 19 June 2008, the Government set out their plan to more robustly enforce the immigration rules by developing and strengthening partnerships with the police, local authorities and enforcement agencies to shut down the privileges of the UK to those breaking the rules. Copies of the document are in the Library of the House. It is also available to view at.
http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/?requestType=form& view=Search+results&simpleOrAdvanced=simple&page=1& contentType=AII&searchTerm=enforcing+the+deal&Submit=Go
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department from which five countries of origin the greatest amount of food was procured by her Department in the last year for which figures are available; and what the (a) cost and (b) quantity procured was in each case. 
Mr. Byrne: The Home Department inclusive of its agencies does not contract directly for food supplies but procures catering services through wider facilities management (FM) or operational service contractors. To obtain this information would incur disproportionate costs.
When placing a contract with FM or operational services contractors sustainability factors are taken into consideration and specifications incorporate sustainability targets and appropriate terms and conditions with regard, to the procurement of food.
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department from which countries inbound passengers to the United Kingdom are tested for tuberculosis; and what percentage of passengers from each country were tested in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Byrne: All passengers who do not possess a valid pre-screening certificate for tuberculosis and are seeking leave to enter the UK for more than six months, and who have travelled from a country where the tuberculosis incidence rate is higher than 40 cases per 100,000 of the population, are referred to the Port Medical Inspector for tuberculosis screening. Around 135 countries currently have this incidence rate of tuberculosis and can be found at the World Health Organisation website:
Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she has given consideration to collaborating with the French Government in establishing and training a combined border and immigration force to be deployed at Brussels Midi, Paris Gare du Nord and London St Pancras International stations capable of checking passengers according to the criteria of both Governments, on a one-stop basis; and if she will estimate the financial effect of such an arrangement. 
Mr. Byrne: The UK Border Agency works closely with French and Belgian authorities to promote mutual border security through the very effective border control arrangements at the juxtaposed controls. We have no plans to establish a body along the lines suggested. It is therefore not possible for us to provide an estimate of the financial effect of such an arrangement. This could be discovered only through the detailed examination of both the UKs and France's existing arrangements, which would involve a disproportionate cost to the business.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many criminal record checks were carried out on (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals seeking to enter the UK in each of the last five years; 
From 1 July 2007, the UK Border Agency introduced the Home Office Warnings Index (HOWI) checking policy. This policy requires 100 per cent. checking
of all documents against the HOWI. The HOWI comprises a watchlist of adverse information and intelligence drawn from various sources, including the police. The system is used by UK Border Agency staff for the purposes of national security and the detection and prevention of crime. It is long-standing policy not to discuss either the specific data held on the watchlist or the source of the data, as to do so would be counter-productive.
When UK Border Agency staff require a passenger to submit to further examination, part of the officers inquiries may include checking the passengers details against the Police National Computer (PNC). For example, that may happen when there is evidence to suggest that the individual has previously committed a criminal offence, or there is evidence to suggest that the individual is currently engagedor is likely to be engagedin criminal activity.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances EU citizens who have been deported may be prohibited from returning to the UK for a set period; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Byrne: Since 1999, the Government have published a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 1112W. Details for the current financial year are being complied and will be published as soon as possible. The list for 2007-08 will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with regard to how many police officers the incapability procedure was (a) started and (b) completed in each police force in each of the last five years; and how many consequent dismissals there were in each force in each year. 
Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were refused entry into the United Kingdom on the advice of port medical inspectors in each year since 1997. 
Nick Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff of the UK Border Agency will be based in (a) Pembroke Dock and (b) Fishguard when they become fully operational. 
Mr. Byrne: We cannot disclose information relating to the number of officers that we intend to deploy specifically at Pembroke Dock and Fishguard, as this information could prove of significant value to those seeking to circumvent our border controls. To release such information would impede our ability to prevent and detect immigration and customs offenders, thereby prejudicing the security of the UK border.
Mr. Tom Harris: We are aware of the growing demand in the Northampton area. That is why we are considering using the proposed Intercity Express trains to serve Northampton. The new trains will have a top speed of 125 mph, compared with the 100 mph top speed of the trains currently used on these services.
12. Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding public transport in city regions outside the comprehensive spending review framework. 
13. Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make a statement on progress by local authorities in utilising the street works regulations which entered into force on 1 April 2008. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Local authorities are now exercising their powers under the new regulations. The majority are using the new noticing system, and they have started giving fixed penalty notices for breaches of noticing requirements.
Two proposed permit schemes have been subject to public consultation, including a London common permit scheme covering Transport for London and 15 London boroughs. We have just received a number of applications from London authorities to operate this scheme on their networks.
15. Alun Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will hold discussions with Network Rail to persuade it to speed up its work on the main line between London and South Wales. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Government are investing heavily in the Great Western Main Line, securing new trains and spending over £500 million on new platforms and lines to eliminate the bottleneck at Reading. The work must, however, be undertaken on a live railway in order to minimise inconvenience to passengers, which influences the pace at which work can proceed.
16. Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding her Department has provided for the development of integrated transport systems in the Stoke-on-Trent area in the last 10 years. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: In the nine years up to and including 2008-09, Stoke-on-Trent has received £40,822,000 in integrated transport block funding for capital investment. In the preceding year, 1999-2000, the authority received total funding of £4,529,000 including funds for road maintenance. It is for the authority to determine how far these funds should be spent on the development of integrated transport systems.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department conducted cost benefit assessments of both recent extensions to the statutory concessionary fares scheme. These acknowledged that significant benefits, such as improved social inclusion, could not be easily quantified. However, both assessments concluded that the investments could offer value for money, even before taking account of the non-monetised benefits.
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