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What consideration they have given to the report Opportunity Blocked on the employment experiences of deaf and hard of hearing people, published by the Royal National Institute for Deaf People; and what action they will be taking on its conclusion and recommendations. [HL27]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We are currently considering the findings of the report Opportunity Blocked. We are committed to supporting people with a disability or health condition, including hearing impairment, to find suitable and sustainable work. Personal and disability employment advisers in Jobcentre Plus are trained to deal with people who, because of their disability or health condition, need extra help to move into or retain employment.
Disability employment advisers can provide specialist advice and support to individuals and employers about a range of programmes designed to help them into work. These include: work preparation; WORKSTEP; New Deal for Disabled People; and access to work. The funding for access to work has been increased each year and this year is over £63 million.
We have undertaken, and are continuing to undertake, a wide range of activities to highlight the duties of employers and service providers. The Disability Discrimination Act provides significant protection for disabled people in employment. It is now unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a disabled person in relation to the recruitment, employment or retention of staff.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies have not been tested in the energy sector, so generation costs are uncertain. In addition, there are several different carbon sequestration technologies, each with different characteristics and costs. Work undertaken for the Government's energy review looked at the costs of CCS compared with CCGT generation using a range of capital and operating costs and fuel price and carbon price sensitivities. A summary of this is given below.
|Note: Range of cost increases represents high and low capital and operating cost sensitivities.|
Further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 1 November (WA 31), which indicated that they supported the European Commission's stated objective to strive for a positive statement of assurance concerning the accounts of the European Union, whether they expect that ambition to be achieved. [HL242]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: The European Commission's stated objective to strive for a positive statement of assurance by 2009 will be challenging. However, we expect that action taken on the commitments to improve financial management and control made during the UK presidency in 2005, and the recent proposals announced in a Written Ministerial Statement by the Economic Secretary on 20 November 2006 (WS 18), which we have encouraged other member states to consider as well, should help to improve the level of assurance on the accounts.
What was the total number of Asylum and Immigration Tribunal appeals heard between 1 August and 31 October 2006; how many were (a) appeals against a notice of intention to deport on the ground that deportation is conducive to the public good; (b) appeals involving unaccompanied minors; (c) appeals that have been designated as country guidance cases; and (d) appeals relating to asylum cases where further evidence was required at second-stage reconsideration; and how many of these cases have been heard by panels that have included a non-legal member. [HL12]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Information from the database of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) indicates that there were 26,375 oral appeal hearings in the AIT from 1 August to 31 October 2006. Of these, (a) 359 were appeals against a notice of intent to deport; (b) 214 involved unaccompanied minors; and (c) two were designated country guidance cases. The AIT does not hold specific data on the volume of asylum appeals where fresh findings of fact were required at the second-stage reconsideration. Of the 26,375 oral hearings in the period, 1,304 were heard by panels including a non-legal member.
Whether they will amend the instructions given to immigration officers so that asylum applicants whose age is disputed, or whose claim to have been tortured has not been assessed, or who are seriously ill, are not fast-tracked. [HL16]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): There are no plans to amend the current operational instructions issued to Immigration Service staff regarding applicants not suitable for inclusion in the detained fast-track asylum process.
What is the appeals procedure in connection with the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (applications by young people for highly skilled migrant status); what is the expected length of time involved; and whether a person involved can remain in the United Kingdom during that period. [HL143]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Applications to enter the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) follow a two-stage process. First, applicants must apply to Work Permits (UK) for a HSMP approval letter. Once an individual has obtained a HSMP approval letter, they
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There is an administrative review procedure associated with applications for a HSMP approval letter. Details of this procedure are included on the schemes and programme pages and in the HSMP1 application form and guidance notes that are available on the workingintheuk website via www.workingintheuk.gov.uk. Some 65 per cent of review requests will be considered within 30 working days. Individuals seeking a review of their approval letter decision are not automatically entitled to remain in the UK while it is being considered, unless they have continuing leave.
Refusal of leave to remain as a highly skilled migrant may attract a right of appeal, depending on whether the decision is one defined at Section 82(2) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. An appeal must be lodged with the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in accordance with time limits prescribed in the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (Procedure) Rules 2005. Appeals are currently listed for hearing approximately six weeks after receipt. The appellant will be entitled to remain in the UK while the appeal is pending.
How many applications were received under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (applications by young people for highly skilled migrant status) in each of the last five years; and, of those, how many were successful. [HL144]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The following table provides details of the number of applications granted and the total number of applications received, by year, under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) since its inception on 28 January 2002. Figures are also split between those aged 28 years and over and those under 28. Figures for 2006 include data up to 31 October 2006. These data have not been provided under National Statistics protocols; they have been derived from local management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change.
The HSMP is a points-based programme, under which successful applicants must score a minimum number of points, awarded in specified areas. The programme is not designed to particularly attract young people, but the point-scoring system was designed to reflect that it may be more difficult for a highly skilled young graduate to score maximum points in the past-earnings category. Therefore, the criteria for the HSMP awarded additional points for those under 28 years of age.
|HSMP initial and review applications granted and received by age between January 2002 and October 2006|
|Year||Age||Applications granted||Total applications received|
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