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12 Nov 2009 : Column 941W—continued

Entry Clearances: China

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many student visa applications were received by the visa application centre in Beijing between January and September 2009; and how many entry clearance (a) officers and (b) managers are employed at the British Embassy in Beijing to work on such applications. [298722]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 9 November 2009]: A total of 29,025 student visa applications were received by the Visa Application centre in Beijing during the period January to September 2009. There are currently 14 Entry Clearance Officers and four Entry Clearance Managers working in the Visa Section in Beijing. They are supported by 34 locally engaged Entry Clearance Assistants. Entry clearance staff process a range of visa applications and not just those of a single type e.g. student visa applications.

Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many students have switched from a Tier 4 visa to a Tier 2 visa since 2008. [299729]


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Mr. Woolas: It has not been possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Entry Clearances: Pakistan

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many appeals were lodged against refusal of visas for Pakistani nationals to visit the UK in each of the last five years. [291359]

Mr. Woolas [holding answer 16 September 2009]: I will write to the hon. Member.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department took in response to the report of visa handling in Pakistan written by senior immigration officer Chris Taylor in 2006. [291690]

Alan Johnson: It is the policy of successive Governments not to comment on internal reports which have been "leaked" to the press.

Fixed Penalties

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fixed penalty fines (a) have been issued and (b) remain outstanding or not paid in (i) Ribble Valley parliamentary constituency, (ii) Lancashire and (ii) England in each of the last five years. [298761]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 9 November 2009]: Information on the number of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for motoring offences in Lancashire and England and Wales is provided in the following table. The table does not show data for Ribble Valley constituency as the data reported to the Home Office are provided at police force area level only.

Information on the number of FPNs which remain outstanding is not reported to the Home Office.

Information showing the number of persons issued with a penalty notice for disorder (PND) and the outcome of those paid in the Lancashire police force area and in England and Wales, 2003-07 (latest available) can be viewed in the table. PNDs figures cannot be broken down below police force area, therefore information for figures for Ribble Valley constituency is not available.

Data for 2008 are planned for publication on 28 January 2010.

Data for Scotland must be taken up through the Scottish Executive and data for Northern Ireland must be taken up through the Northern Ireland Office.

Fixed penalty notices issued for all offences by offence group and police force area

2003( 1) 2004( 1) 2005( 1) 2006 2007

Lancashire

236,000

95,200

80,000

73,024

70,076

England and Wales(2)

3,637,200

3,435,300

3,203,000

3,018,281

2,599,983

(1) Years prior to 2007 and 2006, figures have been rounded.
(2) Figures unable to be provided for UK, instead England and Wales data provided.

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Forced Marriage

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with (a) ministerial colleagues, (b) local authorities and (c) others on forced marriages. [298219]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The information is as follows:

(a) I chair the quarterly Inter-Ministerial Group on Domestic and Sexual Violence, which covers the issue of forced marriage, and also attend the Forced Marriage Multilateral meetings.

These meetings bring together Ministers from Departments across Government, such as the Ministry of Justice; the Department for Children, Schools and Families; the UK Border Agency; the Department of Health; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and the Department of Communities and Local Government.

(b) The Home Office chairs quarterly meetings with the Government office leads on interpersonal violence. Forced marriage is a standing item on the agenda and information from these meetings is disseminated to practitioners within the regions on a local level, including local authorities.

The Forced Marriage Unit also runs a substantial national outreach and training programme, speaking at over 90 events each year to community groups, statutory agencies, including local authorities, and the voluntary sector.

(c) The Forced Marriage Unit chairs quarterly round table meetings on forced marriage, which unite statutory and voluntary agencies to discuss ways to tackle the issue.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding his Department has allocated to tackling forced marriages in 2009-10. [298220]

Mr. Alan Campbell: In the financial year 2009-10, the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office jointly fund the Forced Marriage Unit £278,000 to provide some of the following key services:

Funding of £31,250 has also been provided to the FMU for the development of the multi-agency Forced Marriage Practice Guidelines, released in July 2009, which should help practitioners work more closely together to better identify and protect children and adults at risk of forced marriage.

The Home Office also allocated a total of £3.5 million to the nine Government Offices for the regions and the Home Office Crime Team in Wales for 2009-10 to support local initiatives to tackle domestic violence. A
12 Nov 2009 : Column 944W
number of regions have chosen to allocate specific funding to local initiatives tackling forced marriage in their areas.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce the number of forced marriages. [298223]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) launched a new two-year action plan for 2009 and 2010 earlier this year with the following key objectives:

To support this work, the FMU have launched the following initiatives;

Hizb ut-Tahrir

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received on the proscription of Hizb ut-Tahrir; and if he will make a statement. [298346]

Mr. Hanson: Since January 2009, the Home Office has received one piece of correspondence requesting the proscription of Hizb ut-Tahrir. We have also received one parliamentary question relating specifically to Hizb ut-Tahrir, and I refer the hon. Member to 16 March 2009, Official Report, column 13WA.

Proscription is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism. Decisions on proscription must be proportionate and based on evidence that a group is concerned in terrorism as defined in the Terrorism Act 2000. Hizb ut-Tahrir, along with other organisations that cause us concern, is kept under continuous review. As and when new material comes to light it is considered and the organisation re-assessed as part of that process.


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Human Trafficking

Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people arrested and charged with human trafficking offences were prosecuted in each of the last five years; how many of those cases resulted in (a) a custodial sentence, (b) a non-custodial penalty, (c) the case being dropped due to a lack of evidence and (d) the defendant being cleared of all charges; and if he will make a statement. [292341]

Mr. Alan Campbell: I will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in respect of how many individuals of each nationality (a) reasonable and (b) conclusive grounds for having been trafficked have been determined under the National Referral Mechanism for Victims of Trafficking. [298926]

Mr. Alan Campbell [holding answer 10 November 2009]: 347 nationals from 50 countries have been referred to the National Referral Mechanism in the period April to September. Of these there have been 190 positive "reasonable grounds" decisions, of people from 35 different countries.

Of the 190 there have been 51 positive "conclusive grounds" decisions of people from 11 countries.

Identity Cards

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether identity cards produced for issue to foreign nationals have been found to contain defective chips (a) before and (b) after issue. [294289]

Alan Johnson: A small number of chips (less than 0.5 per cent.) within identity cards for foreign nationals failed our stringent quality control procedures and were not issued as a result. No chips have been found to be defective after issue.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for identity cards are expected to be received from British and Irish citizens in each of the next 12 months. [298069]

Alan Johnson: The Identity and Passport Service will be making a range of material available to inform the public about when British citizens will be able to apply for a national identity card. However, until we start issuing identity cards to members of the public later this year in Greater Manchester, it would be difficult to make any precise forecast of the number of people likely to take up the option of purchasing an identity card in the next 12 months.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether British citizens will be able to apply for an identity card online. [298072]

Alan Johnson: It is currently not possible for British citizens to apply for an identity card online. At public launch, members of the public will be able to request an application pack from the direct Government website at:

or call the service centre on 0300 330 0901.


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We have a programme of ongoing development to create an online passport application, and we will be developing an online capability similar to the passport online application process for 2012.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 184W, on identity cards, what action has been taken to inform employees in (a) his Department and (b) the Passport Service that they could apply for an identity card from 20 October 2009. [298385]

Alan Johnson: The information is as follows:

(a) A number of Home Office staff based in London whose work is connected to the implementation of National Identity Service, and are therefore able to apply for a card under the terms of the initial commencement order, have received an e-mail from the Identity and Passport Service, notifying them that they could apply for a national identity card as part of the operational trials.

(b) The Identity and Passport Service executive directors sent an e-mail to senior managers throughout the target areas (London, Merseyside and Durham) informing them of the start of operational trials and the option for staff to volunteer to apply for a card.

At the same time a news item was also placed on the intranet informing all staff that they could apply for a card from 20 October, as part of the operational trials, which linked to the guidance on how to do so.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 184W, on identity cards, on which date identity cards will be extended to residents of Greater Manchester and to airside workers at Manchester and London City airports. [298387]

Alan Johnson: A further commencement order under the Identity Cards Act 2006 will specify when certain residents of Greater Manchester and airside workers at Manchester and London City airports will be able to apply for an identity card. This will be notified to Parliament in the usual way.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the Answer of 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 184W, on identity cards, how many applications have been received from people working in (a) his Department and (b) the Identity and Passport Service. [298388]

Alan Johnson: The commencement order that came into force on 20 October allows for a limited number of IPS and Home Office staff as well as airport operator staff at Manchester and London City airports to be among the first to apply for identity cards. So far more than 1,000 people have volunteered to apply for an identity card.

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the first annual report by the National Identity Scheme Commissioner is expected to be published. [299387]


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