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Written Statements

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Immigration

Statement

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Today the Supreme Court gave judgment in the cases of R (on the application of Munir and another) (Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent) and R (on the application of Alvi) (Respondent) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant).

In the case of Munir the Supreme Court confirmed that the Secretary of State has discretion to grant leave outside the rules and held that the source of this discretion is the Immigration Act 1971 and not the royal prerogative.

In the case of Alvi the Supreme Court held that “Any requirement which, if not satisfied by the migrant, will lead to an application for leave to enter or remain being refused is a rule within the meaning of Section 3(2)”. A “rule” that must be laid before Parliament by way of the procedure under Section 3(2) of the Immigration Act 1971. This judgment goes further than recent caselaw in the Court of Appeal, which held that there was a spectrum of “substantive requirements affecting entitlements” which had to be in the rules and “means of proving eligibility”, which did not. The Supreme Court noted that the case law had produced uncertainty and litigation and that a greater degree of certainty is required.

The Supreme Court has drawn the line in a way which provides a clear and workable framework for the future but some requirements in the current Immigration Rules are not consistent with this judgment. In particular, the visitor, points-based system and family rules impose some requirements on applicants by way of guidance which fall foul of the Supreme Court’s judgment. The Government will therefore lay a statement of changes on 19 July coming into force on 20 July in order to safeguard their lawful operation.

We recognise the complexity of the system and we will therefore undertake a more substantial review of the rules and consider how they can be simplified. The Migration Advisory Committee is currently reviewing the Codes of Practice which this judgment requires are included in the rules and we expect a shorter, updated version to be available for inclusion in due course.

The immediate changes to the rules will mean that for applicants under the visitor, PBS and family route the position has not changed. They are required to meet the requirements of the rules and provide the specified evidence that they meet those requirements. The evidence will now be specified in the rules rather than in guidance.

The Government are also making some minor changes to improve the drafting and transparency of the Rule and some technical corrections to the rules.

Applications already submitted will be considered under the new rules.

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Guidance on decided cases, where an applicant has been refused on the basis of failure to meet a requirement that they believe should have been in the rules but was not, will be issued soon.

Infrastructure Investment

Statement

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have today launched UK Guarantees to accelerate major infrastructure investment and provide major support to UK exporters.

This is only possible because of the Government’s hard-won fiscal credibility, which is now being used to support growth in critical areas of the UK economy.

First, applications will open today for UK Guarantees to kick-start critical infrastructure projects that may have stalled because of adverse credit conditions. Up to £40 billion worth of projects could qualify. They must be ready to start in the 12 months following a guarantee being given. Applications can be made from today to Infrastructure UK and, subject to legislation, the first guarantees are expected to be awarded in the autumn.

Eligible projects will be subject to charges, due diligence and as a minimum must be:

nationally significant, as identified in the Government’s

National Infrastructure Plan 2011

. The Government will also consider other exceptional projects of national or economic significance on a case-by-case basis; ready to start construction within 12 months from a guarantee being given and having obtained (or being about to obtain) necessary planning and other required consents; financially credible, with equity finance committed and project sponsors willing to accept appropriate restructuring of the project to limit any risk to the taxpayer; dependent on a guarantee to proceed and not otherwise financeable within a reasonable timeframe; and good value to the taxpayer: they must be assessed by HM Treasury to have acceptable credit quality; must not present unacceptable fiscal or economic risks; and must make a positive impact on economic growth.

The Government will consider the most effective form of guarantee on a case-by case basis using a robust assessment and approvals process.

Secondly, as part of UK Guarantees, a new temporary lending programme will be available to ensure around 30 public private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects worth an estimated £6 billion over the next 12 months can go ahead, including projects in the transport, health, housing and education sectors.

PPP projects currently raise all of the required project debt from the private sector. The Government are making loans available to projects as an exceptional response to current market conditions. This will ensure that these projects are not delayed by current constraints in the long-term lending markets. The loans will be made on commercial terms, alongside the existing commercial lenders and for a minority of the project debt requirement.

Applications can be made to Infrastructure UK by project authorities or sponsoring departments. Loans advanced under this programme will be funded from

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existing departmental capital budgets, subject to HM Treasury approvals. This will be a temporary intervention, initially available for a period of 12 months from today.

Finally, a major £5 billion export refinancing facility will be available from later this year to support British exporters by ensuring overseas buyers have access to long-term funding.

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UK Export Finance will begin supporting loans by the end of the year. Up to £5 billion of loans outstanding will be supported, with the programme designed to ensure there are minimal risks to the public finances. Sectors supported could include aerospace, oil and gas extraction equipment, transport and telecommunications infrastructure services.