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Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am sure that the induction programme will be properly thought through and carefully designed and that people who are part of that process will be properly trained. Of course, it is not a question of applying pressure on people; it is about helping them through a process and ensuring that they understand it. We want people to be able to exercise their rights properly and to understand what will happen to them.
I have been advised that support for the programme is being provided by the Migrant Helpline, which is not a government body. Organisations such as that can help greatly in ensuring that the induction programmes are perceived as helpful, useful and valuable to those who go through them.
Lord Kingsland: I want to help the Minister here because I do not want this amendment to end up in a confrontation, although it may have to. The Minister is confident about the meaning of the words in paragraph 4.36. Therefore, will he undertake to place those words on the face of the Bill? He is so confident of his own interpretation that surely he must say that he will. Will he do thator will he place words on the face of the Bill that reflect exactly the words in paragraph 4.36?
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Yes, I am confident of the interpretation that I have given. I am prepared, as I said a few moments ago, to reflect long and hard on what has been said in the debate. I shall not give a cast-iron commitment across the Dispatch Box and I do not believe that the noble Lord would expect me to do so. That would be wrong. But I am happy to give very careful consideration to what the noble Lord said and to reflect further on it. I recognise the importance and validity of this debate. It is important because it gets to the heart of ensuring that people properly access their legal rights and properly understand what will happen to them and what the process entails.
Lord Kingsland: I gave the noble Lord the Minister the opportunity to back his own belief in what those words meant by placing them on the face of the Bill. Clearly, he will not do so. Therefore, it is with regret that I shall ask to test the opinion of the House.
On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 176) shall be agreed to?
Their Lordships divided: Contents, 84; Not-Contents, 108.
Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.
[Amendments Nos. 177 to 177A not moved.]
Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 178:
Furthermore, why will there be a different definition of "dependant" in Clause 59 and in Clause 60 from that in Clause 18 where "dependant" is defined for the purposes of accommodation centres? Shall we end up with three different definitions of "dependant": one for Clause 59, one for Clause 60 and one for Clause 18? If so, what are the reasons behind that? Even if there are good reasons, have the Government considered whether that will be confusing for asylum seekers and their dependants, as well as for everyone else? I beg to move.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: This is an occasion when what I am about to say may find favour with the noble
Two factors will determine whether someone is treated as a dependanta person's treatment is the important factorfor the purpose of Clauses 59 and 60. The first, and prior, matter is whether a person wishes to be treated as a dependant. If a family member is not seeking to enter or to remain on the basis of their relationship with the principal applicant, they will not be seeking to stay as a "dependant" and will thus not come within the scope of the clause, unless they are an asylum seeker in their own right. It is important to remember that no one will be forced to be a dependant.
The second factor is whether we consider that a person qualifies to be treated as a dependant. It is the need to cater for that factor which led us to thinking that a regulation-making power would be desirable. But we have now concluded that a definition on the face of the Bill would be as effective.
The starting point is that the spouse and dependent children under 18 of a principal application would normally be treated as a dependent if they so wished. Other family members would not normally qualify as dependants, but our policy is to treat people outside the main definition as dependants where special circumstances justify it. For example, an elderly relative or a relative with a disability might be included in certain cases.
The amendments we plan to table on Report will, we think, deal with those two factors to the Committee's satisfaction. With the definition placed on the face of the Bill, the question of the appropriate order-making procedure falls away. I hope that that satisfies the noble Lord and that he will feel able to withdraw his amendment. We expect the same definition will appear in Clauses 59 and 60. I hope that clarifies that point.
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