HC Deb 25 January 1979 vol 961 cc669-70
18. Mr. Budgen

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any proposals for introducing internal checks in order to prevent illegal immigration and illegal overstaying in this country.

Mr. John

A variety of measures are already taken to prevent and detect illegal entry and overstaying, which are continually reviewed and improved in the light of experience and the available resources. However, for the reasons set out in my right hon. Friend's statement of 6 April 1978, the Government are opposed to a system of internal control of immigration.

Mr. Budgen

Will the Minister of State now confirm that the Government have decided to reject each of the four specific recommendations made nearly a year ago by the Select Committee on Race Relations and Immigration, in order to control illegal immigration and overstaying?

Mr. John

Since the Home Secretary has made a statement and we have subsequently published a White Paper, I do not know why the hon. Gentleman should be seeking confirmation. If he had read his parliamentary papers he would already know the Government's attitude.

Mrs. Dunwoody

Will my hon. Friend make it quite clear to the EEC that he finds the undertakings in its new directive unacceptable, because the evidence given by immigration organisations to this House makes it clear that they would not accept internal checks?

Mr. John

I attended the EEC Council meeting last November. The proposal is now that the Commission should hold separate discussions with the United Kingdom about the difficulties that the draft holds for us. I have made it clear that the draft directive does hold considerable problems for this country.

Mr. Onslow

What action does the Home Office take when it is brought to its notice that someone is making money out of illegal immigration? What is the success rate?

Mr. John

The success rate is considerable and such people are liable to criminal prosecution.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Has my hon. Friend followed the questioning of the Select Committee in its present inquiry in which time after time it has said that it denies ever making the recommendation which the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Budgen) has suggested?

Mr. John

I understand that. Our difficulty at the time when the Home Secretary made the statement was in understanding what the Select Committee did mean.

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