HC Deb 15 May 1969 vol 783 cc1832-4

Lords Amendment: No. 8, in page 13, line 16—

  1. "B.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, where directions are given under paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 to the Act of 1962 for the removal of a person from the United Kingdom the owners or agents of the ship or aircraft in which he arrived shall be liable to pay to the Secretary of State, on demand, any expenses incurred by the latter in respect of the custody, accommodation or maintenance of that person at any time after his arrival while he was detained or liable to be detained under paragraph 4(1) of that Schedule.
  2. (2) The foregoing subsection shall not apply to expenses in respect of a person who, when he arrived in the United Kingdom, held a current entry certificate or was the person described in a current employment voucher; and for the purposes of this subsection a document purporting to be such a certificate or voucher shall be treated as genuine unless its falsity is reasonably apparent.
  3. (3) If a person is admitted into the United Kingdom before the directions for his removal have been carried out, or he is so admitted thereafter in consequence of the determination in his favour of an appeal under Part I of this Act (being an appeal against a refusal of admission by virtue of which the directions were given or against the directions themselves), no sum shall be demanded under subsection (1) of this section for expenses incurred in respect of that person and any such sum already demanded and paid shall be refunded.
  4. (4) In subsection (1) of this section 'directions' does not include directions which by virtue of Schedule 2 to this Act have ceased to have effect or are for the time being of no effect; and the expenses to which that subsection applies include expenses in conveying the person in question to and from the place where he is detained or accommodated unless the journey is made for the purpose of attending an appeal by him under Part I of this Act.
  5. (5) Her Majesty may by Order in Council under section 1 of the Aliens Restriction Act 1914 make provision in relation to aliens for purposes corresponding to the purposes of this section."

Mr. Merlyn Rees

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Subsection (1) authorises the Home Office, when a Commonwealth citizen has been refused admission and directions have been given for his removal, to recover from the carrying company the expenses incurred on his custody, accommodation and maintenance during the period after his arrival when he was detained or liable to be detained pending examination or removal.

Subsections (2) and (3) contain respectively an exception for cases in which the passenger held an entry certificate or employment voucher, and for cases in which the passenger is eventually admitted. In either case the expense of custody, accommodation and maintenance will be borne by public funds.

Subsection (4) prevents the making of a demand under subsection (1) in a case where directions for removal are in suspense pending an appeal, and provides that the cost of transporting the passenger to and from the place where he is staying for any purpose other than his attending an appeal hearing are to be recoverable under that subsection. The cost of transporting appellants to and from appeal hearings is to be met by the Home Office.

Subsection (5) enables corresponding provision in relation to aliens to be made by Order in Council under the Alien Restriction Acts. An Order will be made for this purpose immediately after the Bill becomes law.

The present law on the responsibility of a shipping company is in an unsatisfactory state. There have been discussions with the shipping and airline companies, and it would be idle for me to pretend that they agree with what is involved in the Clause.

My right hon. Friend considers it right to maintain the general principle that the carrying company is responsible both for removing a passenger to whom entry is refused and for his custody and maintenance until removal is effected.

This principle has been recognised in this country for nearly 70 years. It has undoubtedly given the carriers who bring immigrants on long-haul routes an incentive to avoid carrying passengers who are likely to be rejected.

The fact that virtually all passengers from the West Indies who are subject to immigration control arrive with entry certificates is due in large measure to the attitude of the carrying companies. By safeguarding their own financial interest, these carriers are at the same time acting in the interests of their passengers, whose eligibility for admission is settled in advance, and they are also facilitating the operation of immigration control.

There are, however, concessions that we have made. The carrying companies will incur no financial responsibility if the passenger holds an employment voucher or entry certificate, or is eventually admitted to this country whether as a result of an appeal or otherwise. We believe this is the right thing to do, and I commend the Clause to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

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