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20 Apr 2009 : Column 180W—continued

Identity Cards: Interviews

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer of 17 March 2009, Official Report, column 1093W, on the national identity register, in what type of cases may individuals be asked to attend an interview when they apply for registration on the National Identity Register or for a replacement card. [268936]

Mr. Woolas: Whether an individual would be invited to attend an interview prior to registration on the National Identity Register will depend on the particular
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circumstances of the application but, as now with first time adult applicants for passports, it is likely that the Identity and Passport Service would need to interview an applicant where there is limited evidence of identity such as no previous passport history. An interview is one way of helping to establish identity.

Illegal Immigrants: Amnesties

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the merits of offering an amnesty to illegal migrants; and if she will make a statement. [269153]

Mr. Woolas: The Government have ruled out an amnesty and this remains our position. An amnesty would be unfair to those who are here legally; it would act as a pull factor for even more attempts at illegal immigration; and it would counter the achievements by the UK Border Agency to improve our border and immigration system.

Illegal Immigrants: Prosecutions

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 23 March 2009, Official Report, column 118W, on illegal immigrants: arrests, how many (a) prosecutions and (b) deportations were made following the 1,685 enforcement visits made to restaurants and takeaway food outlets in 2008. [267458]

Mr. Woolas: The UK Border Agency records details of the number of individuals arrested as suspected immigration offenders, details of prosecutions, and the details of those removed on three separate systems. In order to achieve the required level of data quality, the cross-referencing of data between the three systems could be completed only by the detailed examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost.

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons removed and departed voluntarily from the UK on a quarterly and annual basis, as well as statistics on persons proceeded against for offences under Immigration Acts in England and Wales annually. National Statistics on immigration and asylum are placed in the Library of the House and are available from the Home Office’s Research, Development and Statistics website at:

Immigrants: Fingerprints

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) records and (b) data subjects there are on the Immigration and Asylum fingerprint database. [269176]

Mr. Woolas: The number of records held on the Immigration and Asylum fingerprint database for the week ending 28 March 2009 is 4.80 million.

The number of data subjects there are on the Immigration and Asylum fingerprint database for the week ending 28 March 2009 is 4.14 million


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Immigration

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many legacy cases of indefinite leave to remain are under consideration; what the longest time for a decision to be made on such a case has been; and when she expects the last such case to have been disposed of. [267716]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 2 April 2009] : In July 2006 the former Home Secretary informed Parliament that the UK Border Agency had a backlog of around 400,000 to 450,000 electronic and paper records, which were riddled with duplication and errors, and include cases of individuals who have since died or left the country, or are now EU citizens.

Due to the poor data quality of these cases, to identify how many cases will result in the granting of indefinite leave to remain that are currently under consideration would involve disproportionate cost.

The information requested regarding the longest time for a decision to be made on a legacy case is not collated and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost through the manual examination of individual case files.

The UK Border Agency is aiming to conclude the backlog of legacy cases by summer 2011 and is on track to do so.

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to determine the application for indefinite leave to remain of Zakia Ahmed, reference A1387430, case ID10352843. [268392]

Mr. Woolas: I wrote to the hon. Member on 6 April 2009.

Immigration Controls

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance her Department issues to entry clearance officers on the registration of the application date in respect of the points-based immigration system. [267451]

Mr. Woolas: Guidance about the date of an entry clearance application is available in the points-based system policy guidance, which is published on the UK Border Agency website.

The current published version of the guidance says that the date an entry clearance application is made is

The UK Border Agency will shortly be publishing an amended version of the guidance which will say that the date of application is

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training on the Tier 1 points-based system her Department has provided to (a) entry clearance officers and (b) other employees of (i) her Department and (ii) the UK Border Agency. [268226]


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Mr. Woolas [holding answer 2 April 2009]: Entry clearance officers received full Tier 1 training during April 2008 which encompassed PBS overview and how to consider applications under the new system.

UK Border Agency staff received awareness sessions (248 staff) which covered Tier 1 General. Specifically 70 caseworkers were trained during February/March 2008 to process in-country applications. This involved a three day training course which covered all elements of Tier 1. Further training has been provided as new caseworkers join the Agency.

Immigration Controls: Eurostar

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether UK Border Agency staff assigned to juxtaposed controls at Eurostar terminals in France and Belgium have received training in the identification of suspected children being trafficked; and how many children have been so identified since the introduction of juxtaposed controls. [268710]

Mr. Woolas: All Border Force staff are required to complete a learning package on human trafficking which will teach them how to identify potential victims of trafficking.

In October 2007, a separate learning package was launched to ensure that staff have the right knowledge to safeguard children. This was designed in partnership with other organisations and is compulsory for all staff regardless of grade or Department.

A number of staff also receive specialised training in interviewing children.

Juxtaposed controls were introduced at France and Belgium in 2004. Since then, UK Border Agency staff, at the juxtaposed controls, have identified 110 cases involving children and vulnerable adults (up to the age of 30 years) suspected of being trafficked.

These figures have been sourced from locally collated management information and do not represent National Statistics.

Immigration: Biometrics

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department has allocated to the Process Improvement Fund for Wave One airports. [258101]

Mr. Woolas: In November it was announced that a Process Improvement Fund of up to a maximum of £500,000 would be established to enable Wave One participants to take advantage of the opportunities identity cards provide in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of existing pre-employment checking processes, during the 18 month evaluation period.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 16 March 2009, Official Report, columns 915-6W, on biometrics: airports, how much her Department spent on IRIS technology in (a) 2008 and (b) 2009 to date. [267462]


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Mr. Woolas: The costs incurred to the Department for the maintenance and support of Iris Recognition Immigration System (IRIS), are as follows:

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which UK airports are using the Iris Recognition Immigration System (IRIS) what percentage of passengers passing through immigration control at each airport was processed through IRIS on the latest date for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [269171]

Mr. Woolas: The Iris Recognition Immigration System is in use at ten locations, the five Heathrow Terminals, the two Gatwick Terminals, Manchester Terminals 1 and 2 and at Birmingham Airport.

Over the period from August 2008 to January 2009, the percentages of passengers at those ports passing through the IRIS gates are as follows:

Percentage

Heathrow

1.11

Gatwick

0.53

Manchester

0.26

Birmingham

0.49


These data are normally used for management information only and are not subject to the detailed checks that apply for National Statistics publications.

Immigration: Marriage

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people granted settlement last year after four or five months on a work permit had married a person not subject to immigration control prior to their application for settlement. [241601]

Mr. Woolas: The information is not held or collated, and to obtain it would require examination of each individual case at disproportionate cost.

Immigration: Married People

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans her Department has to introduce pre-certification for marriage applications for foreign under 21-year-olds. [251640]

Mr. Woolas: We raised the minimum age at which someone can sponsor a spouse to come to the UK or be sponsored as a spouse from 18 to 21 on 27 November 2008.

We are continuing to look at what more can be done to strengthen the marriage route against abuse, and ensure that it assists a spouse's integration into the UK at an early stage. This includes work to develop our proposal, as set out in the document ‘Marriage Visas: The Way Forward’ published July 2008, to make it a requirement for sponsors to register their intention to sponsor a spouse to come to the UK and if needed attend a compulsory interview.


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Immigration: Tibet

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what designation the UK Border Agency uses to classify persons of Tibetan origin who wish to enter the UK. [264126]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 19 March 2009]: Tibetans, like all persons seeking entry to the UK, are required to produce a valid national passport satisfactorily establishing their identity and nationality, and are classified accordingly.

Immobilisation of Vehicles

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will publish the wheel-clamping study recently sent to her by the Security Industry Authority. [268739]

Mr. Coaker: The Home Secretary announced on 3 April her intention to launch a formal consultation in late April on the options for how best to regulate the wheel-clamping industry. The consultation document, which includes the results of the SIA’s feasibility study, will be published, and copies will be placed in the House Libraries.

The Government’s preferred option will be to introduce compulsory licensing by the Security Industry Authority of wheel-clamping companies.

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her proposals for the future of the wheel-clamping industry will include changes to (a) the regulation of wheel-clamping companies, (b) the maximum level of charges that clamping companies can impose on private land and (c) the minimum standards for signage on private land; and when she plans to publish her proposals. [268740]

Mr. Woolas: We will launch a formal consultation in late April considering how best to regulate the wheel-clamping industry. The Government’s preferred option would be to introduce compulsory licensing for all wheel-clamping companies, to ensure they uphold standards of conduct, which will be enforced if they are not met.

The details of the scheme will be decided after the public consultation, but are likely to include maximum penalties that can be charged and standards on signage, including size and visibility.

Independent Safeguarding Authority

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 19 March 2009, on the Vetting and Barring Scheme, what the reason is for the period of time taken between implementing the provisions of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 in October 2009 and the scheme becoming fully operational in July 2010; and what assessment she has made of the likely effects of this period on the operation of the scheme. [269247]

Jacqui Smith: The commencement of new applications under section 24 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 will take place in July 2010 to enable full implementation and testing of the new IT systems which are required to introduce the scheme effectively, including a contingency period. In the period from
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October 2009, the Independent Safeguarding Authority will be able to bar from the full range of regulated activities with children or vulnerable adults any cases referred to it in which it considers the individual referred to be unsuitable for such work.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the monthly operating costs of the Independent Safeguarding Authority (a) at present and (b) once the Vetting and Barring Scheme becomes fully operational in July 2010. [269248]

Jacqui Smith: The present monthly operating costs of ISA are budgeted at c. £1.075 million (£12.9 million for 2009-10).

The monthly operating costs of ISA once the scheme becomes fully operational in July 2010 are estimated to be £3.33 million.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what electronic databases will be used by the Independent Safeguarding Authority to operate the Vetting and Barring Scheme. [269249]

Jacqui Smith: The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will operate a database maintaining the lists of those barred from working with children or vulnerable adults in accordance with section 2 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. It will also operate two databases maintaining two lists of those who are ISA registered and able to work with children and vulnerable adults together with a casework management system.

It will be provided with relevant information by the Criminal Records Bureau, which has access to information recorded on the Police National Computer and other police systems.


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