Supplementary Letter from Kate Hoey MP,
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office
It was a pleasure to see you on 10 February
and to give evidence to Sub-Committee F on Schengen and the UK's
I said that I would write to the Committee giving
further information about the 27,000 people refused entry at UK
ports in 1998. Specifically, the Committee wished to know the
number of those arriving from elsewhere within the EEA, and those
from outside the EEA.
I am afraid that we do not keep a note of passengers'
embarkation points for the purpose of compiling these statistics.
We do, however, know that over a third of the refusals took place
at Dover and Waterloo, all of which would have concerned passengers
travelling from Europe. It is also worth noting that of 6,338
fraudulent travel documents detected at ports in 1998, 65 per
cent were forged EU/EEA travel documents, and 64 per cent were
held by passengers arriving from EU/EEA countries. Moreover, of
23,347 port asylum applications made in 1998, 30 per cent were
made at Waterloo and Dover.
I would also like to clarify a point made to
me by Lord Pilkington. He asserted that the majority of checks
at our ports were made on the basis of intelligence from abroad,
and that the maintenance of UK frontier controls was therefore
a "last resort". This is not the case.
Everyone arriving in the United Kingdom is liable
to be examined by an immigration officer to determine if they
are British citizens, or national of the European Economic Area,
or, if not, to establish whether or not they qualify for leave
to enter this country in accordance with the published Immigration
Rules, which have been approved by Parliament. The power to grant
leave to enter is vested solely in the immigration officer at
All arriving third country national passengers
are checked against the Suspect Index, a computerised intelligence
system which holds details of those with an adverse immigration
history as well as those of interest to other Government agencies.
However, regardless of whether they are a previous entry on the
SI, an immigration officer will refuse entry to any passenger
who does not satisfy him that they qualify for leave to enter
in accordance with the published Immigration Rules.
For example, the immigration officer must be
satisfied that a person seeking entry as a visitor is genuinely
seeking entry as a visitor for the limited period stated, intends
to leave the United Kingdom on completion of the visit and does
not intend to take employment in the United Kingdom. In all cases,
leave to enter will be refused if the immigration officer is not
In reaching his decision, the immigration officer
will take into account for example:
previous journeys to the United Kingdom
and length of time stayed;
return ticketing, adequate funds;
presence in baggage of, e.g., CVs,
presence of family or friends in
the United Kingdom; or
presence of family/employment back
home ("reason to return home").
A decision to refuse entry would be based on
an assessment of the person's credibility as a visitor, rather
than on any intelligence already known about him.
In the case of an EEA national: the immigration
officer may only refuse admission on grounds of public policy,
public security or public health. To illustrate this point, for
example, the Immigration Service recently refused a Dutch national
who presented a passport which had been amended unlawfully to
include details of a 13 year old child and who stated that the
lady (in her 30s) travelling with her was that child. The refusal
of admission on grounds of public policy which ensued came about
through the immigration officer's observations on her arrival,
rather than being based on intelligence.
I hope this helps to clarify the position.