The work of the UK Border Agency (January - March 2013) - Home Affairs Committee Contents

3  Focus: immigration enforcement

Immigration Bill

12. The Immigration Bill, which received its Second Reading in the Commons on the 22nd October 2013, is intended to address long-standing inefficiencies in the legislative framework and to contribute to delivering the Prime Minister's pledge to make the rules for new migrants the toughest in Europe. The Bill is intended to better control the number of people who come and live in the UK.

13. The bill will:

  • make it easier to identify illegal immigrants by extending powers to collect and check fingerprints, powers to search for passports, powers to implement embarkation controls and powers to examine the status and credibility of migrants seeking to marry or enter into a civil partnership;
  • speed up and simplify the process for removing people, especially those who remain on the basis of "spurious" appeals, by reducing the number of decisions that can be appealed from 17 to 4;
  • ensure the courts have regard to Parliament's view of what the public interest requires when considering Article 8 of the European Court of Human Rights in immigration cases;
  • require that private landlords actively check the immigration status of their tenants (initially as a pilot);
  • prohibit banks from opening current accounts for those identified as being in the UK unlawfully;
  • introduce new powers to check driving licence applicants' immigration status;
  • limit immigrant access to certain public services like the NHS by ensuring temporary migrants "make a contribution".

14. We note that there was no pre-legislative scrutiny of the proposals in the Bill, and recommend that the Home Office always make use of pre-legislative scrutiny wherever possible.

15. Dave Wood told us that the Immigration Bill would go a long way to create "an environment where it is very difficult to exist as an illegal immigrant within the country", making it very difficult for anyone in the UK illegally to work, to claim benefits, to get a driving licence, to open a bank account, and to rent accommodation.[14]


16. At present, temporary non-EEA migrants—those who come to the UK to work or study, or for family reasons for more than six months—are allowed free and unlimited access to NHS services immediately on arrival in the UK or very shortly after. The Government describes this approach as "overly generous when compared with other countries", many of which require temporary migrants to have comprehensive health insurance. The Government believes that this level of access is unfair to UK taxpayers and proposes to replace the "ordinary residence" test which governs free access to the NHS, with a "permanent residence" test, which would exclude temporary non-EEA migrants. This would mean that only those with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK would have free access to NHS services. Temporary migrants would have to pay a "migrant health levy" if they wanted access to NHS services. It is proposed that certain groups would be exempt from charging, such as refugees, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and those covered by reciprocal health agreements with the UK.

17. Announcing the changes to access to NHS services for temporary migrants, the Home Secretary said at Second Reading of the Immigration Bill:

Temporary migrants seeking to stay in the UK for more than six months will have to pay an immigration health surcharge on top of their visa fee. I assure the House that this surcharge will make the system fairer and will not undermine our aim to attract the brightest and the best. We have carefully examined what other countries do and will ensure that the UK offer is a competitive one in a tough global market. Dealing with migrants is not new for the NHS. There is already a framework for charging other countries. The NHS must enforce it and recover the cost of treating foreign nationals from foreign Governments, and all of us in government will work with it to make the system work.

We have no objection in principle to the introduction of a charge for access to the National Health Service for those who are in the UK only temporarily and would therefore not otherwise be making a long-term contribution to the NHS. However, we recommend that the Government distinguish between those who are temporarily in the country through choice—to work, study or visit family—and those who are here through no choice of their own, such as refugees and victims of trafficking. To charge these vulnerable people for access to NHS care would be wholly wrong. We recommend the Government commission a pilot scheme to assess the feasibility of enforced health insurance for short-term visitors to the UK who require a visa. The issuing of a visa should be linked to submission of evidence of health insurance from a legitimate provider. We note that other countries such as Australia have a similar scheme in place.


18. A further measure in the Bill concerns proposals to create a new requirement on landlords to conduct immigration checks on tenants, with penalties for those who provide rented accommodation to illegal non-EEA migrants. The Government says that the new requirements will be modelled on existing controls which apply to the employment of illegal workers which are well established and have operated successfully for the last five years. 'This would initially operate in a single location for six months, and would then be evaluated prior to any rollout, which would be subject to a vote in Parliament.

19. When announcing the proposal the Home Secretary told the House of Commons on the 22nd October 2013:

Rogue landlords will face penalties, hitting them where it hurts—in their wallets. This will make it harder for landlords to house illegal immigrants and harder for illegal immigrants to settle in the UK.

20. Ahead of the launch of the consultation on tackling illegal migration in privately rented accommodation, the Immigration Minister accompanied Home Office Enforcement Officers on early morning enforcement raids across three suspected so-called 'beds in sheds' properties in Hayes. The Hayes raids, organised in conjunction with Hillingdon Council, led to the arrest of two men - one Indian male who had overstayed a work visa and a failed asylum seeker who had absconded. A further raid on a residential address in Southall led to the arrest of five Pakistani nationals for overstaying offences. As the Immigration Minister pointed out at the time, the raids served to highlight the terrible living conditions experienced by many illegal immigrants, as well as the profits made by unscrupulous landlords.

21. Dave Wood was also alive to the problem of sub-standard, even dangerous housing:

I was dealing a few months ago with what could be termed a "beds in sheds" operation, which you may be conversant with, where there were shacks—I cannot put it better than that—and people living in them and immigrant populations being exploited in awful conditions, dangerous, with electricity cables hanging down; very dangerous for them, being exploited, paying rent for these places, absolutely awful. So that is an extreme end of the situation where people are profiteering from illegal immigration, knowing full well exactly what they are doing. That is one end of the spectrum, and I think that is very serious and I think that is a growing problem.[15]

Immigration Enforcement is a key partner in the Ministerial Taskforce on Rogue Landlords, which focuses on nine local authorities that received Department for Communities and Local Funding (DCLG) funding to tackle beds in sheds.[16]

22. In August 2012 the Department for Communities and Local Government issued a 'Guide for Local Authorities'[17] in helping them to deal with the problem of rogue landlords. In the joint foreword of the guide the Home Office Minister for Immigration states that rogue landlords are

simply unacceptable in modern Britain, and we have been working across Whitehall and with overseas Governments to tackle the problem. We have also been working with local authorities to discover the extent of the problem and the barriers that they face in tackling rogue landlords. We have awarded £1.8m to the nine local authorities who have the biggest problem with beds in sheds.[18]

23. One likely consequence of making it more difficult for irregular migrants to access the rented housing market will be an increase in homelessness within that group, and an increase of those living in what the Government describes as "the very worst privately rented accommodation": illegally occupied outhouses and unlicensed houses in multiple occupation.

24. Four years ago, the then Attorney General paid a civil penalty of £5,000 for unknowingly employing an illegal immigrant. If one of the Government's Law Officers can make such a mistake, it would be very easy indeed for the average citizen to do so. The vast majority of residential landlords are private individuals, most of whom let only a single dwelling, and for whom letting is not their main source of income.[19]

25. The proposed new housing measures in the Immigration Bill must not produce a bonanza for unscrupulous landlords who already operate outside the law, driving more people into the twilight world of beds-in-sheds and overcrowded houses in multiple occupation.

26. The Committee is concerned about the implications of this proposal on millions of private landlords across the county. This additional regulatory burden, in effect requiring them to carry out immigration checks on behalf of the Home Office, is challenging. There are over 404 legitimate European identity documents alone on which landlords will have to base their decision. There is a possibility that landlords will discriminate against all immigrants regardless of their status rather than take the risk of housing a person without right to remain. There is also a possibility that unscrupulous landlords will hold tenants who are suspected of being an illegal immigrant to ransom. Therefore we recommend that as part of the Government's scrutiny of the Immigration Bill they commission an impact assessment to gauge the likely effect of these proposals on discrimination against migrants.



27. In July this year the Home Office piloted a one-week campaign to try and encourage illegal immigrants to leave the United Kingdom voluntarily. The Home Office state that voluntary returns are the most cost-effective way of removing illegal immigrants and save the taxpayer money.[20] The campaign was launched in six London boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hounslow, and Redbridge. The areas were chosen because they have either significantly higher or lower than average numbers of voluntary returns, meaning that the success of the pilot can be assessed. Written Parliamentary Questions revealed that the pilot included the use of two 'AdVans' in the chosen London boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow, Brent, Barnet, Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham between 22 July and 28 July. The AdVans spent approximately two full days in each of the boroughs during that week. The total cost of the entire pilot was just under £10,000. This amount includes the cost of the advertising vans, communication materials, including translation fees, the text message service, adverts in newspapers and shop windows, posters and leaflets. The total cost for the billboard element of the pilot was £4,734.[21]

28. Vans displaying large adverts, as well as leaflets, posters and messages in local newspapers were used to highlight the advantages for illegal migrants to return home voluntarily - while making clear enforcement action will be taken if they do not. Material was distributed in areas where illegal migrants are known to frequent, including newsagents, money transfer shops and internet cafes. The vans highlighted how many illegal migrants have recently been arrested in the areas, and also showed a text number that migrants can message to arrange their return. The text on the vans read:

In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest. Text HOME to 78070 for free advice, and help with travel documents. We can help you return home voluntarily without fear of arrest or detention.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:

This pilot is just another part of the reforms of the immigration system that have cut out abuse and seen net migration drop to its lowest levels in nearly a decade. The Immigration Bill being introduced later this year will build on this work by restricting illegal migrants' access to benefits and services.[22]

29. The 'go home or face arrest' scheme generated vast publicity, almost all of it hostile. The leaflets carrying the message are still in circulation despite the pilot only lasting one week. Politically this policy appeared to split the Coalition. On a BBC Radio 5 Live phone-in the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP said that he did not think the scheme was a "clever way of dealing with this issue". Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show Business Secretary Vince Cable MP branded the scheme as "stupid and offensive" and a Liberal Democrat party spokesman commented: "[t]hese poster vans were not cleared or agreed by Liberal Democrats in government. We are totally committed to tackling illegal immigration but this is a disproportionate, distasteful and ineffective way to do it."[23] In a joint submission to the Committee's Asylum inquiry Refugee Action, Freedom from Torture, Amnesty International UK, Asylum Aid, Women for Refugee Women and the Scottish Refugee Council indicate that the vans provoked "negative and misleading representations of asylum seekers and migrants, and risk inciting racial hatred in our communities."[24]

30. Further criticisms were raised by Brent council leader Muhammed Butt dismissing the scheme as an 'act of desperation', and Lord Ouseley (former Chief Executive of the Commission for Racial Equality) saying it contributed to an "element of racism and xenophobia"[25]. The Advertising Standards Authority is investigating complaints and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is also investigating the powers used to deliver the poster van to see if unlawful discrimination has taken place and the extent to which the Home Office has complied with its public sector equality duty.

31. On 9 October 2013 the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) made its ruling in the case of the AdVans, following its investigation after receiving 224 complaints about the vans from individuals, campaign groups, legal academics and the Labour Peer Lord Lipsey.[26] In its ruling, the ASA said the reference to the number of arrests was misleading because it did not relate to those detained in the specific areas where people would have seen the vans. Although it cleared the campaign of being 'offensive' and 'irresponsible'.

32. When the Home Secretary gave evidence to the Committee on the 15th October 2013 she was asked if the AdVans were her idea.

Chair: Was it your idea?

Mrs May: It was part of a package that was looked at and agreed that this package would be put forward.

Chair: But was it your idea?

Mrs May: If you are saying to me, Chairman, did I say to them, "I think it would be a jolly good idea to have vans going round the country," no, it was not my initial idea.[27]

Furthermore, she told the Committee when asked if the pilot was to be extended that she was "waiting to see the evaluation of the pilot before I make any decisions"[28].

33. We welcome the Home Secretary's announcement on 22 October 2013 to scrap the immigration AdVans campaign. It makes perfect sense to encourage those who are in the UK illegally to leave of their own volition, and to provide them where necessary with practical support to do so. It is the most cost-effective way of removing illegal immigrants from the country and provides good value for money for the taxpayer. A more effective and less menacing message would be that the Government is willing and able to support those who are here illegally to return home if they want to. That is not to say that tough enforcement action will not be taken against those who are determined to remain here illegally, but for the target audience of potential voluntary returners, the effectiveness of the carrot is potentially undermined by the ostentatious brandishing of the stick.

34. It remains to be seen how many, if any, illegal immigrants left the country as a result of this campaign. Given that the pilot was only six days long we expect the Home Office to publish the results of the evaluation immediately.


35. Prior to the advertising vans pilot scheme, the Home Office official twitter feed caused controversy when, on 3 July 2013, it tweeted: "There will be no hiding place for illegal immigrants with the new #ImmigrationBill" and included an image of alleged "illegal immigrants" being escorted into a Home Office van. It was followed by a video embedded in a tweet, featuring immigration minister Mark Harper talking about a consultation on a proposed change in the law on landlords and illegal immigrants. The Home Office later added a post including a video of a raid of a "rogue landlord" and the message: "Britain is open to brightest & best but uncontrolled migration has to be dealt with."

36. Defending the Home Office's approach the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Taylor of Holbeach said, "We use a variety of channels, including social media, to raise awareness of government policy and our work to deliver that policy, including our efforts to counter illegal immigration. The Home Office Twitter account plays an important role, alongside more traditional methods such as press releases."[29]

37. Dave Wood told acknowledged the difficult of striking the right tone with these kinds of messages:

The image we wish to profess is dignity and respect for everyone we deal with, and professionalism, but you are right that it is a difficult balance with a tough law enforcement culture. We need to be firm and resolute in what we are seeking to do to remove people who should not be in the country, but no, we don't want a macho image, and that is absolutely not what we wish to create.[30]

38. Although we welcome the Government's tough stance on tackling illegal migration, we urge the Government to review its use of social media to publicise immigration raids. We have no evidence to suggest that those pictured in immigration raids may have actually committed an offence or been in the UK illegally. We recommend the Home Office review its use of social media and those who are charged with controlling its output.


39. Announced by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on 22 March 2013, the immigration bonds pilot is the payment of a deposit by visa applicants from "high risk" countries, which would be repaid on departure from the UK. The pilot was announced due to concerns about people overstaying on short-term visas. The Deputy Prime Minister said migrants' made a huge contribution but there must be "zero tolerance" of abuses.

40. The key proposals of the pilot were as follows:

  • Visitors from 6 'high risk' countries will be charged a £3000 bond in a pilot starting in November 2013.
  • Countries to be targeted will include India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

41. The announcement of the bond pilot was met with consternation by many internationally. In a letter to the Home Affairs Committee the President of Ghana described the pilot as "unacceptable, and indeed inappropriate". He went on to describe the bonds thus "You are in effect telling the applicants that upon deposit of the bond they have paid, they can get 'lost' in the UK, after all they would have paid for the privilege."[31] Similarly in a letter from the Nigerian High Commissioner he called the pilot "discriminatory" and said the country had never been consulted. Criticism was not only levelled by Governments, but also by industry bodies and local media outlets. The Confederation of Indian Industry described the pilot as "very unfortunate". [32] The Hindu newspaper suggested in an editorial that controversially, the move is targeted only at people from non-white Commonwealth countries[33].

42. When the Home Secretary gave evidence on 16 July 2013 she suggested that further details of the pilot would be announced this year:

I obviously will come forward with the proposals in due course, but I would expect to be able to do that before the end of this year, so some time in the autumn.[34]

In evidence to the Committee on 15 October 2013 the Home Secretary said.

Chair: Is the pilot still on? The Deputy Prime Minister is very much against it.

Mrs May: We are still discussing the issue of bonds, but they must be about deterring over-stayers. That is the key.[35]

43. Despite no firm decision having been formally announced about the immigration bonds pilot, the Committee are concerned that the damage has already been done to relationships between the UK and the 'high risk' countries. We recommend that the Home Office engage immediately with their counterparts in these 'high risk' countries to work together to find mutually acceptable solutions to deal with the issues of illegal migration. We are very sceptical of this proposals and we hope the Home Office will consult with the Home Affairs Committee before they come to any conclusion on whether to introduce this scheme and the practicalities of doing so.


44. Last year the Government introduced compulsory interview tests for overseas students who apply for visas to study in Britain as part of an effort to filter out abuse of the student visa route. Overseas applicants will now be interviewed by consular officials in their home countries, who have the power to grant or refuse applications based on the interview. The new interview approach was based on a pilot scheme that ran from December 2011 to February 2012. According to the Home Office, the pilot scheme found 32% of almost 2,000 students from outside the EU who were interviewed and granted a UK visa would have been denied one if UKBA officials had the power to refuse visas because they suspected the applicant was not a genuine student.

45. Consular staff are to be given a new power to refuse entry to any overseas students whose credibility remains in doubt after being interviewed. Those who fail to turn up for the interview are refused entry to Britain if they fail to give a reasonable explanation. According to Home Office, the student visa interview programme, which began on 30 July 2012, will result in 10,000 to 14,000 - around 5% of the total - applicants for student visas interviewed each year.

46. Whilst the Committee welcome the progress made by the Home Office towards tackling the issue of bogus students we are concerned that only 5% of the total applicants are currently being interviewed. We reiterate our previous recommendation that we have made on numerous occasions that the Home Office make face to face interviews compulsory for all foreign students where it is practical and appropriate to do so.



47. In a previous Report on the work of the UK Border Agency (December 2011-March 2012), we welcomed the setting up a Allegations Management System to improve the UKBA's performance in following up intelligence leads from the public.[36] Previously information about allegations had been held on a separate list to detail about who is removed from the country. The database, which came into effect October 2012, assigns a unique reference number to cases so that the Home Office can track the outcome of all allegations. Its aim to improve border officials' success rate in taking enforcement action which, as we noted in our previous report, happened in only 4% of cases.

48. When questioned about the current state of the database Mr Wood defended the system, pointing out the intelligence the Home Office get from allegations often does not provide information that is likely to lead to any arrest.

They often do not have sufficient details in order to take any action at all. Sometimes it has limited information that just contributes to our intelligence cases and sometimes they are actionable. We are bringing out—and it is the second half of our computerisation of this—what will be a web­based approach, so when the public wish to make these allegations, it will lead them into providing the information required to make it far more productive.[37]

Mr Wood stated that there are "200 to 300 removals each month from allegations from the public. I think that is really successful".[38]

49. Scrutiny of the database revealed that in the period from its introduction on the 30th September 2012 to the 30th June 2013 that it had received 48,660 allegations, or around 178 allegations per day. Furthermore, since 30 September 2012, when it was introduced, to 31 May 2013, allegations have resulted in 2,695 investigations with visits by Immigration Enforcement officers, 1,840 arrests and 660 removals. This figure includes deportations and administrative removals. Accordingly this means that around 6.2% of allegations result in an investigation by Immigration Enforcement officers, 4.2% of allegations result in an arrest and around 1.5% of allegations result in a deportation.[39]

50. The Committee are extremely concerned about the number of allegations that are made to the Allegations Management System that are not investigated. We recommend that all allegations are actioned and checked against national databases. It is incomprehensible that only 1.5 in 100 reports of illegal immigration result in someone being removed from the country.

51. Numerous Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister who in a speech in October 2011 to 'report suspected illegal immigrants to our Border Agency', have reiterated the need to report immigration abuse to officials. We continue to be concerned that despite making formal allegations about immigration abuse, those who do so are not informed of the outcome of their complaint. This risks undermining confidence in the system and could lead to reluctance to report such allegations if the public perceive that no action is being taken. We recommend that the directorate respond to those who make allegations to inform them of the outcome of their investigations.


52. The Immigration Enforcement Directorate carry out a number of 'enforcement raids' on businesses to check whether they are employing people who do not have the right to work in the UK. Mr Wood told us that the Agency had undertaken 3,840 enforcement visits between January and March 2013, a figure consistent with previous years' data.[40] It is our intention to view the Directorate's enforcement operations later this year.

53. The Committee have received complaints from businesses that had been targeted by Home Office officials and subsequently raided, often with up to nine or ten enforcement officers present on their premises. Mr Wood explained that these operations a subject to risk assessments and "a judgement is made on where they are going and what the intelligence says, what they are expecting to find there and the number [of enforcement officers] is picked accordingly."[41] He accepted that sometimes the intelligence "isn't right" and that too many officers may have been deployed, in which case officers are expected to remove themselves quickly from the scene.[42]


54. One of the major issues facing the new Directorate is the problem of the many people that have entered the country legally under a visa but have then overstayed after the visa has expired. We asked Mr Wood what he was doing to mitigate this problem. He accepted that "there will always be people overstaying" and told us that the Home Office were rolling-out more thorough and frequent interviewing abroad before visas were being granted ,weeding out some of the migrants "who are not likely to comply with the laws when they are here."[43] He suggested that a successful strategy for reducing overstaying would depend both on making it difficult for overstayers to remain in the country, and on being careful about the granting of visas in the first place.[44]

55. As we noted in our Report on Student Visas in 2011, the phasing out of exit checks during the 1990s has undermined the Government's ability to keep track of whether those whose visas have expired have left the country or not.[45] Mr Wood told us that the Home Office was still trying to work out how exit controls could be re-introduced to give better information about the number and identity of visa-holders who have not left the country when their visa has expired.[46]

56. Both the Home Secretary, in April, and the Permanent Secretary, in June, have told us that the Home Office is working towards exit checks by 2015.[47] However, the Permanent Secretary suggested that this would be dependent on the e-Borders scheme, delays to which have bedevilled the effective operation of border controls over several years.[48]


57. The e-borders programme has been incorporated within the larger Border Systems Programme (BSP) which now assumes responsibility for the Warnings Index and the rest of the Border Force portfolio of technology projects. The Programme thus represents a single and complete portfolio of inter-dependent border systems. The existing capability provided by the BSP allows target intervention and detection activity at the border; and can prevent those who would do most harm from travelling to the UK. Advanced Passenger information is now collected on around 65% of all routes, including all routes outside the EU and EEA.

58. On the 9th October 2013, John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration published his report on the e-borders programme, 'Exporting the Border? - An Inspection of e-borders'[49]. In the report the Chief Inspector found that nearly 650,000 alerts about smugglers of drugs and other contraband, as well as tax avoiders, were deleted without being read by staff at the National Border Targeting Centre over a period of just 10 months. That equates to more than 2,000 a day. The report also found that the e-borders programme had failed to deliver the planned increases in Advanced Passenger Information and that a failure to identify risks in 2007 meant that the original data collection targets were unrealistic and likely to be missed. Referring to the breakdown of the previous contract with Raytheon, the IT supplier, the report found a failure to meet key programme milestones had contributed to the contract being terminated in July 2010, we agree.

59. When the Director General of the Border Force, Sir Charles Montgomery gave evidence to the Committee on 8 October 2013 he was questioned on the e-borders programme and stated that exit-checks would be in place by May 2015. Referring back to the previous contract with Raytheon, Sir Charles told the Committee that arbitration proceedings, which have cost the Home Office already at least £150million, were expected to last for "several months"[50]. When pressed on the exact timing he said "The best answer and indeed the only answer I can give is to reiterate several months."[51] The Committee has been told this timescale by Ministers and officials for a number of years. We require a firm timetable for completion of the arbitration proceedings.

60. We questioned Sir Charles about the current systems in place and he informed us that the Advanced Passenger Information system which "enables us to issue authorities to carry or not" was a "success", being used on 100% of routes outside the EU and 70% within the EU. But he warned that the information is found on two systems, the Semaphore and the Warnings Index, both of which "are relatively old systems and require replacement".[52] When questioned about the timetable for procurement of the new systems Sir Charles informed the Committee that he expected to be able to have the evidence required to make the decision on which approach to base procurement on by December 2013. He anticipated the procurement process would begin in the early half of next year. He also informed the Committee that the process for procurement may be shorter than the original process that had been planned.[53]

61. The John Vine report also found that the "Salah Action Plan", to intercept the subjects of exclusion and deportation orders introduced in 2011 after Raed Salah gained entry to the UK, was not being fully implemented. The report found Heathrow was being compliant and deployed staff to meet them, but Gatwick and Luton Airports were not. When the Home Secretary gave evidence on the 15th October 2013 she confirmed that 'My understanding is that it has already been extended to other ports.' Giving evidence to the Committee following Raed Salah's entry to the UK on 5 July 2011, the Home Secretary said "that the UK Border Agency are in no doubt that they need to ensure that if I sign an exclusion order, that the expectation is that that individual will not be able to enter the United Kingdom"[54], however clearly this has not happened.

62. The non-implementation of the 'Salah Action Plan' is evidence of immigration officials apparently not correctly following Ministerial instructions. The Home Secretary in the past made a commitment to ensuring that a similar situation does not occur in future. We recommend that the Government investigate this breach of protocol to understand why this has been allowed to happen again.

63. We see no reason, given that passenger information is already collected on departure, that exit checks could not be implemented immediately. The situation whereby you only show your boarding card on departure and not your passport could be readily remedied if passport scans were implemented at the entrance to security clearance. We are concerned that the timetable for procurement is vague and unrealistic, noting that a short procurement process will favour the current suppliers IBM and Serco. We remain deeply concerned that the e-borders programme will not be operational by 2015. It is worth nothing that Australia, South Africa and Saudi Arabia have all had this e-borders technology in place for a number of years, but the UK still has not. We should be at the forefront of this process. We recommend the Government publish the timetable for the procurement of the e-borders programme immediately. We will continually revisit this issue as part of our scrutiny of the immigration service and will return to it in detail when the Permanent Secretary Mark Sedwill, gives evidence to the Committee in December this year.



64. In January 2012, we published a Report on The Rules Governing Enforced Removals from the UK.[55] In that report the Committee noted that "Operational instructions" governing forced removal of illegal immigrants provide that force can be used "to keep a detainee in custody, to prevent violence, to prevent destruction of property of removal centre or of others, and to prevent detainees from seeking to prevent their removal physically or physically interfering with the lawful removal of another detainee." On 9 July, the inquest into Mr Mubenga's death found that he had been unlawfully killed.

65. Mr Wood told us that he thought that Mr Mubenga's death was a result of "failings of the particular escorts" and that the G4S escorts "had not complied with the training given". However, he also acknowledged that it was the UK Border Agency who was ultimately responsible.[56] Mr Wood told the Committee that an independent panel of leading experts from across the country were contributing to a review of the Home Office procedures on the use of force on aircraft, "to make absolutely sure that everything we do is the best possible standard, and everything the escorts do is the best possible standard it can be."[57]

66. Mr Wood told us that there had been complaints of the use of force prior to Mr Mubenga's death and that every complaint of the use of force has been vigorously investigated.[58] He later told us in writing that the Home Office

take all allegations of assault and misconduct, which may amount to crime or the inappropriate use of force extremely seriously. The Department, and our Professional Standards Unit, is overseen by a number of external oversight bodies as provided for by Parliament, but Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, in certain cases, all play a role. Each complainant has a right of appeal or review to an oversight body.[59]

In 2012/13, there were 73 serious complaints which required investigation by the Professional Standards Unit. (In 2012 there were 7,000 detainees moved per month and 5,420 escorted removals.) Of the 73 complaints, 56 related to the use of force, and 31 were identified as relating to potential breathing difficulties. Mr Wood told us that all such allegations were passed to the police, where appropriate, who will take forward their investigations in parallel to the Home Office's own internal enquiries. It is open to the Police to take action at any time, even where the Department itself finds a case to be unsubstantiated.[60]

67. It is completely unacceptable that, even after the death of Jimmy Mubenga, the Home office continues to receive dozens of complaints each year about potential breathing difficulties caused by the use of physical force in immigration detention centres and on removal flights. We recommend that future contracts for the provision of immigration detention and escorted removal services should include punitive financial penalties where contractors' staff are found to have used unauthorised restraint techniques.

Parental responsibility at the border

68. It is estimated that as many as 25% of parents do not share their children's surname. Modern families are more likely to include step-parents, unmarried parents, and married parents who have chosen to retain their own names. We heard from the Parental Passport Campaign that families such as this can experience difficulty entering and leaving the country, ranging from intrusive questioning to denied boarding. It is of course important for Border Force officers to be vigilant for children who might victims of abduction or trafficking, but the fact that a parent and child have different surnames should not, on its own, constitute grounds for suspicion. This is particularly so when the child is old enough to confirm the parent's identity.

69. We recommend that the Government publish, before the end of the Parliament, an analysis of the risks and benefits of including an option for parents' names to be recorded in their children's passports. We also recommend that Border Force publish on its website and at ports of entry clear guidance on the circumstances under which adults travelling with children might be required to prove that they have parental responsibility, and the documentary proof that they might be required to produce.

14   Q 42 Back

15   Q 51 Back

16   Ev 42. The local authorities are Brent, Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Newham, Peterborough, Redbridge, Slough and Southwark. Back

17 Back

18   Guide for Local Authorities' foreword Back

19   Private Landlords Survey 2010, Department for Communities and Local Government (October 2011) Back

20 Back

21   HC Deb, 8 October 2013, col 2W Back

22 Back

23 Back

24   Home Affairs Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2013-14, Asylum, HC 71, Volume I, Ev 144, para 1 Back

25 Back

26 Back

27   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Home Secretary, 15 October 2013, HC 235-ii, Qq 121-122 Back

28   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Home Secretary, 15 October 2013, HC 235-ii, Q 123 Back

29   HL Deb, 25 July 2013, col WA227 Back

30   Q39 Back

31   Letter to the Chair from the President of Ghana, 9 July 2013 Back

32   Letter to the Chair from the Nigerian High Commissioner, 12 July 2013 Back

33 Back

34   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Home Secretary, 16 July 2013, HC 235-i, Q 81 Back

35   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Home Secretary, 15 October 2013, HC 235-ii, Q 125 Back

36   Home Affairs Committee, Fifth Report of Session 2012-13, The work of the UK Border Agency (December 2011-March 2012, HC 71, p34 Back

37   Q 91 Back

38   Q 92 Back

39   HC Deb, 4 July 2013, col 784W Back

40   Ev 42 Back

41   Q 93 Back

42   Q 93 Back

43   Q 55 Back

44   Q 56 Back

45   Home Affairs Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2010-12, Student visas, HC 773 Back

46   Q 67 Back

47   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Home Secretary, 18 April 2013 (HC 563-iii), and The work of the Permanent Secretary, 18 June 2013 (HC 233-i) Back

48   Q 71 Back

49 Back

50   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Border Force, 8 October 2013 (HC 658-i), Q 39 Back

51   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Border Force, 8 October 2013 (HC 658-i), Q 41 Back

52   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Border Force, 8 October 2013 (HC 658-i), Qq 52-53 Back

53   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Border Force, 8 October 2013 (HC 658-i), Qq 55-61 Back

54   Home Affairs Committee, The work of the Home Secretary, 5 July 2011 (HC 1372-i), Q 22 Back

55   Home Affairs Committee, Eighteenth Report of Session 2010-12, Rules governing enforced removals from the UK. HC 563 Back

56   Q1 Back

57   Q8 Back

58   Qq 26-27 Back

59   Ev 41 Back

60   Ev 41 Back

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Prepared 8 November 2013