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Perhaps I may pick up what the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, said—a point that was echoed by several other speakers. We must never confuse anti-Americanism with anti-administrationism. I do not draw attention to any particular Administration but, again, insist that this has been a phenomenon of American political debate at home and abroad throughout many different UN General Assemblies. Long before John Bolton, I watched American delegates criticised by countries for American over-reach and over-assertion of its powers. Through the thick and thin of that, we in the United Kingdom have stuck true to what my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has described as the partnership of purpose. We see it today in Afghanistan—a country that symbolises our common goal of protecting our national security and promoting human rights. We see it in the common challenges that we seek to meet together in Africa. US leadership has been critical in keeping the world’s focus on Darfur. Its leadership on HIV/AIDS and malaria has been justly applauded—an issue on which President Bush has taken a direct and personal role. We are delighted that he has joined this Government in the Prime Minister’s call for action on the millennium development goals.

The list continues. In the six-party talks on North Korea and on Iran, I hasten to tell my noble friend Lord Giddens that in another place today the Foreign Secretary reaffirmed that we are committed, as are our partners, including the United States, to a diplomatic solution to the crisis on Iran’s nuclear programme. We share a commitment to a new trade round, to the reform and reinvigoration of the UN, and to the continued transformation of NATO. None of these challenges could possibly be solved without the involvement of the United States. US leadership, even if sometimes we feel it is not there for us as forcefully as we would wish, is vital and indispensable, and will continue to be so. That is why the US remains our most important bilateral relationship in the world today.

References to the city upon the hill in a sense sums up the dilemma and sometimes contradiction in our relationship with the United States, just as the United States and the politicians who are often collectively referred to as representing the Wilsonian tendency in American policy look to the world and expect an ideal world that will act according to American values and hopes for democracy and the rule of law. Sometimes we look to America in a similar idealised way and are disappointed if America shows the same commitment to interests and politics in its international

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relations that other countries demonstrate. Friendship also requires realism; this is a marriage not a romance, one might say.

In conclusion, the challenges that we face at the beginning of this century are, as the noble Lord, Lord Wallace, said, different from our immediate past. The challenges are issues such as climate change, poverty, crime and migration—and, of course, terrorism. They are not just different in terms of issues. In the age of globalisation they require global responses. They are not ones that any nation, even the United States, can solve alone. Rather, in an era of the rising powers of Asia, which has been referred to, they require us all collectively to adopt new approaches as we strive for global security. Even with power dispersed to a billion laptops—a magnificent phrase—and to the emerging powers of Asia, the United States remains indispensable to solving these new problems as it was to solving the older ones. Indeed, multilateralism without the US is a chair without a leg. It is important for all of us to make the case for American engagement in the world as a force for good and to rebut the promoters of anti-Americanism. Nevertheless we need to be a candid friend as we seek to encourage the US, this Administration and the one to come, to engage in the world around the values that we share. We need to work with the US because there can be no more powerful exponent of our values and no more powerful partner in making a new global, multilateral world work more effectively.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, before moving the Motion, I wish to apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Bew, who informed me that he would not be speaking in the gap. I informed the Table but I forgot to inform the noble Lord, Lord Wallace.

I beg to move that the House do now adjourn at pleasure until 8.46 pm.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 8.44 to 8.46 pm.]

UK Borders Bill

Consideration of amendments on Report resumed.

Clause 5 [Registration regulations]:

Lord Judd moved Amendment No. 6:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall, with the leave of the House and for your Lordships’ convenience, also cover Amendment No. 10. In Grand Committee, I underlined some of the anxieties of the Joint Committee on Human Rights about this section of the Bill. In the absence of more detail in the Bill or any draft regulations prescribing important details of the proposed scheme, it was impossible for the Joint Committee to assess the compatibility of the proposed biometric registration scheme with the right to respect for private life, as laid down in Article 8 of the European convention. The Joint Committee made comparisons with shortcomings surrounding the proposed identity cards Bill and the dangers of the potentially discriminating impact of introducing

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compulsory registration for non-nationals before nationals. This is in part due to the real possibility that British citizens from visible minority ethnicities will be subject to more frequent demands to produce an ID card or to allow checks against the register. The introduction of the biometric immigration document gives rise to the same concern about de facto racial profiling.

Even though the Bill does not make it a requirement to carry such a document, the fact that such a document exists for non-nationals and can be requested to prove entitlement to services makes it highly likely that members of black and minority-ethnic communities in the UK will be disproportionately required to prove their immigration status. I must underline that this is at a time when, from various parts of the political spectrum, we are all concerned to bring the nation together in one citizenship. In the Roma rights case, the House of Lords found that the Home Office’s policy of targeting Roma for pre-entry clearance at Prague airport was inherently racially discriminating and therefore unlawful. To be lawful, it will be essential that race or ethnicity plays no part in the profiles used by the Government to decide the order in which they phase implementation of the biometric document.

I have read and reread the response of my noble friend in Grand Committee. I must say, and I hope that he will understand when I say it, that I am still to be convinced that the Government have fully understood and dealt with this danger. I hope that he can take us the final mile tonight in persuading us that racial profiling is out of the question and will be impossible. I beg to move.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Judd, has tabled the amendment again because there seems to be some confusion about the Government’s intentions with regard to the order in which persons subject to immigration control will be required to register. In Grand Committee, the Minister said that initially BIDs would be issued to persons renewing leave to remain, such as students from outside the EU—I suppose he meant the EEA—persons asking for settlement after the five-year qualifying period, applicants seeking to extend work permits and those applying for leave to remain on the basis of marriage to a British citizen.

The noble Lord said that those categories would be used to trial the biometric recording and card production processes. The Explanatory Notes say that the first documents will be issued to those who pose the greatest risk to immigration control. When I said that the Minister's remarks indicated that there had been a change of policy since the Explanatory Notes, and that we were hearing about it for the first time, he initially made no comment. Then in his letter of 7 July, dealing with points raised in the second Grand Committee sitting, he reverted to the narrative of the Explanatory Notes. Although the precise order of priority for the rollout still had to be determined, the prime consideration was—I quote from his letter—

So who is at the front of the queue? The persons renewing or varying an existing leave to remain on

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whom the procedures would be tested, or the nationalities subject to the highest refusal rates on the basis of experience?

The Minister said that it was unnecessary to consider having a separate monitor to look at the rollout process particularly to ensure—to answer the concern of the noble Lord, Lord Judd—that it was not discriminatory or in breach of data protection legislation, because the chief inspector of the BIA would have that responsibility and would be required to report to Parliament on those issues. I hope that to some extent that reassures the noble Lord, Lord Judd, because presumably the chief inspector would be able to look at the process and satisfy himself that there was nothing inherently discriminatory in it.

Then the Minister said that employers would not be acting lawfully if they required the BID to be produced on the basis of a person's appearance. In the next breath he said that if a job applicant appeared to be a Somali—that was the example I had given on 23 July at col. GC 149, a category that might be among the earliest holders of BIDs if the Explanatory Notes rollout criteria are followed—it would be very sensible for the employer to ask the applicant whether he had a BID.

Then the Minister said that persons of Somali appearance applying for jobs would not “necessarily” be asked to produce a BID. A “verifiable form of documentation”, he said, would do. A minute later he mentioned the national insurance number. I then put it to him that any person who had previously been in employment should be able to satisfy an employer of his right to work and his eligibility by giving his NI number, so only those looking for their first job after leaving school or university would have to use a BID to satisfy the employer of his legitimacy as a person who had the right to reside and work in the UK.

I have no doubt that this will all be made clear to employers in due course when they receive guidance on how to carry out their duties under the Bill, but it is slightly alarming that the Minister was not able to clarify the matter while we were talking about it in Grand Committee, and I hope that he will be able to do so now.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, it may seem slightly eccentric to raise an issue concerning the Republic of Belarus on this amendment. However, I do so because biometric visas are involved. It may have been more appropriate to raise it under Amendment No. 9, but I shall go ahead nevertheless.

I have been aware for some years that children and accompanying adults have been coming to this country from Belarus because they were suffering from a variety of radiation-induced diseases and illnesses—for example, leukaemia. In Wiltshire, the county next door to where I live, there has been a very active group of concerned citizens who have been arranging holidays, care and treatment for those children. They are concerned, and so is the Belarusian ambassador in London, that the introduction of biometric visas will seriously prejudice the work that has been going on successfully for quite a long time.

I would like some reassurance from the Government that charges for biometric visas and the

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bureaucracy and complication entailed in producing them will not upset what I consider—I am sure that many of your Lordships agree—a very useful and quite important little voluntary scheme.

Many of us have pretty strong views about the nature, character and operations of the current Belarus Government. What has been happening to provide care and some degree of treatment has established links between our two countries which it would be tragic to prejudice by the introduction of biometric visas. I hope that the Minister can give me some good news on that subject.

Baroness Stern: My Lords, I support the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Judd, my colleague on the Joint Committee on Human Rights. There is a real problem of confusion of immigration, asylum-seeking and any person from an ethnic minority, however British, and a real danger that the Government’s policy in this respect could contribute to racial feeling. The Joint Committee on Human Rights was alarmed by the Government's proposal to bring in biometric registration in stages, because of the danger of discrimination on the grounds of nationality and the danger that it will be known that certain people from ethnic minorities have to have those documents, so that it is assumed that everyone from an ethnic minority has to have one and therefore people are asked for them even when that is completely inappropriate. It would be very helpful if the Minister could say how far, in devising the proposal to introduce this in stages, the implications for racial harmony and the need to avoid discrimination on the grounds of nationality have been considered.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I am grateful to noble Lords who have placed the amendments before the House this evening. It has been a useful debate because it has flushed out some issues of concern. That is always very helpful and will enable us to set out the Government's intention. I listened with care to what the noble Baroness, Lady Stern, had to say about the issues surrounding race and what the Joint Committee on Human Rights had to say on that matter. I certainly well understand those worries, but I think that they can be well matched by our approach to the biometric immigration document rollout. Clause 5(2)(a) is designed to ensure that it could be done incrementally. The noble Lord’s amendment would mean that regulations would have to require everyone subject to immigration control to apply for a document at the same time.

During earlier debates in Grand Committee, Committee Members requested more details about the roll-out of the BID’s process. We plan to roll out the biometric immigration document incrementally by application type over three years, starting with a small pilot in spring next year followed by a rollout in the year following. There are several reasons for that. It will enable the introduction of a pilot to test the business processes using this legislation. We want to introduce biometric immigration documents gradually. A gradual ramp up in the process is less

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risky for us to implement. I hear the comments and criticisms about the use of new technologies. In addition, rolling it out incrementally should minimise the burden on businesses or other organisations that may be required to use it, such as employers.

Rolling out by application form will ensure that the application process is simple for customers—it will be clear who will be required to have their biometrics recorded and who will not. Since each application type carries its own unique application form, it will be clear on an application whether a customer’s biometrics will be required, without reference to caveats or supplementary rules. We will gradually build familiarity and consistency into the implementation. That is an important issue. We have used this same gradual method many times—for instance, when introducing the knowledge of life tests and perhaps more pertinently, biometric visas overseas.

We have created a consultative document for the Commission for Equality and Human Rights and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, and this will be sent out on 16 October. This document provides an opportunity for comment and engagement by the CEHR and ECNI, and an undertaking to consider and respond to any concerns that they may have. In addition, the consultation seeks specific feedback on the aspects of indirect discrimination that may arise under the current rollout plan.

9 pm

The pilot will last for three months and aims to enrol the biometrics of around 10,000 applicants who will continue to receive a vignette in their passport if their application is successful—no card will be issued at this stage. The pilot will include those categories of leave planned to be in the early implementation of BIDs—further leave to remain, but categories planned for rollout may be included to test fully the processes of a range of customers.

We plan to base the pilot in London and aim to test some of the IT equipment and business processes. When we are up to full coverage, we anticipate that in excess of 850,000 customers each year will be required to register their biometric information as part of the application process; this includes those people who lose or damage their cards or have them stolen.

It is our intention to focus the rollout of biometric immigration documents to immigration leave categories within which the most harm is prevalent. Biometric immigration documents will be a powerful enforcement tool and we want to utilise them as soon as we can. In this way, we can maximise the benefits of biometric recording and checking and issue secure documents. BIA statistical and intelligence-led research indicates that the level of harm is greater both in likelihood and impact among individuals applying in certain leave categories. These include students, those granted discretionary leave to remain and grants of leave based on relationships, such as marriage and civil partnerships.

We plan to introduce the biometric immigration document to categories of leave where it will have the most benefit and reduce abuse. This has produced the following implementation schedule: in 2008, discretionary leave and humanitarian protection,

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marriage, long-term relationship and civil partnership categories and student categories; in April 2009, remaining high harm further leave categories, including business, children of settled parents, work permits and visitors; in April 2010, remaining further leave categories; and in April 2011, settlement and refugee status grant categories. There may be further changes to the plan based on the outcome of the evaluation of the pilot and the consultation with the Commission for Equality and Human Rights and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

By focusing initially on applications based on marriage, long-term relationships and civil partnerships, and students, we are adding immigration control to categories that have been subject to some abuse. By selecting these groups first for the BIDs programme, we add a further level of control that will mean applicants will not be able to switch identities. If we have seen them before in another identity, our checks will pick this up. BIDs also bring benefits for those who are here legally. They will be able to use their biometric immigration document with their employer or college to help them prove their identity, which some groups undoubtedly have problems with currently. There is a further check on the process through the legislative machine. Both Houses in due course will have to make the secondary legislation required for the pilot and for full rollout, so there will be further opportunity to examine our roll-out plans for BIDs in detail.

A number of issues were raised and I shall deal first with that raised by the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, which in some ways was away from the currency of the debate. I understand the noble Lord’s concerns about people coming to the UK from Belarus and his particular concern about children suffering as a result of the Chernobyl disaster, to which he made reference in a note to me. There is a very complicated background to this. We should like to consider in some detail the noble Lord’s point and I extend an invitation to him to give us more details of particular cases that concern him so that we can investigate the issues he has raised. I shall be more than happy to assist if I can.

Lord Hylton: My Lords, it would be very helpful if the noble Lord could say something about charging and whether charges will be waived in humanitarian cases.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I cannot give the noble Lord an answer: I should like to reflect on the issue. I shall be more than happy to correspond with him on that and will share that response with other noble Lords who have been involved in this discussion. My noble friend Lord Judd was concerned about visible ethnic minorities being subject to greater checks, which prompted the amendment. Public service providers and employers when requiring proof of immigration status will have to do so compatibly with the Race Relations Act 1976 and its subsequent amendments.

In the employment context, prospective employees must already provide documents to establish that they

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are entitled to work. A code of practice sets out how employers should do so in a non-discriminatory fashion. The introduction of the BID will not change that. It will instead provide a simpler and, one can fairly argue, much more secure means for employers to check that a person is entitled to work in the UK.

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