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Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response his Department has made to the report by Chris Taylor of the UK Border Agency on travel permits from Pakistan; what the principal conclusions of the report were; and if he will place a copy of the report in the Library. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 16 September 2009]: A member of staff in the Islamabad visa section was asked in 2006 to conduct an internal review of a number of visa cases for the purpose of maintaining and improving processes and decision-making. This was part of routine procedure to monitor and continuously improve performance. As such, the observations made in the review were one of many contributions to the continuous business improvement process within UKBA International Group, previously UK Visas.
In 2007 we began recording biometrics of all Pakistani visa applicants, which are cross-checked against UK Police and immigration databases.
We have increased verification checks on key documentation. For example, all education certificates are verified with the Pakistan Higher Education Commission.
We have improved our risk profiling of Pakistani visa applications, meaning that extra checks are made on applications considered higher risk.
We have introduced the Points Based System, which has consolidated about 80 immigration routes into a five tier system and introduced still tougher standards on UK employers and colleges seeking to bring migrants into the UK.
Since the beginning of 2007, we have provided counter-terrorism and forgery training to all entrance clearance and intelligence staff being posted overseas.
We have run specific counter-terrorism training sessions in high risk posts, including Islamabad.
In 2008 we introduced paragraph 320 7a and 7b into the immigration rules which allows entrance clearance staff to ban those who use forged or fraudulent documents in visa applications from entering the UK for up to 10 years.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which organisations in England and Wales in receipt of Government funding undertake work relating to forced marriage; and how much each has received from the Government in each of the last three years. 
|Government Department||Organisation funded||Purpose of funding||Amount funded in 2007-08||Amount funded in 2008-09||Amount funded in 2009-10||Total funding|
|(1 )Min.£20,000 per organisation.|
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Sentencing Guidelines Council on the length of sentences for murder committed by members of gangs. 
I have had no discussions with the Sentencing Guidelines Council on the length of sentences for murder committed by gangs. I have consulted the Council on the review of the starting point for determining the minimum term for murder using a knife and I await its formal response. Guidance on setting the minimum term to be served for murder is set out in Schedule 21 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and the Council guideline on the overarching principle of seriousness states that offenders operating in groups or gangs should be treated as an aggravating factor for the purposes of sentencing. I note that the Crown Court recently handed down sentences with 39 and 35 year minimum terms to the top members of a gang in Manchester and a 35 year minimum term for a gang member from Sheffield who ordered a murder from his prison cell.
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