§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will list the computers owned by or planned for the Immigration and Nationality Department of the Home Office; where each of them is or will be treated; and which of them will be linked, under INDECS (Immigration and Nationality Department Electronic Computer Systems) or otherwise, to the system owned by the Immigration Service Intelligence Unit at Harmondsworth.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Elton)
The Home Office Immigration and Nationality Department uses two computer systems. Phase I of the INDECS system, which is used to match the landing and embarkation cards completed by passengers subject to immigration control, is located at Bootle. The Immigration Service Intelligence Unit system is located at Harmondsworth. The two systems are not linked. Experiments with822WA terminals for reading machine readable passports in conjunction with a computerised warning list have begun at Terminal 3 Heathrow.
Planning for a computer system in support of the processing of applications to the Nationality Division is at an advanced stage. The equipment will be installed at the Immigration and Nationality Department headquarters at Croydon. There are no plans to link this system with the Immigration Service Intelligence Unit Computer.
A review of the Immigration and Nationality Department's future computer requirements in support of the on entry and after entry immigration control was initiated recently and further progress in the use of computer systems will depend on the outcome of this review. Any systems in operation in the Immigration and Nationality Department will conform with the requirements of data protection legislation.
§ Lord Avebury
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will list the "clearly defined categories" of persons where particulars are or will be entered in to the Immigration Service Intelligence Unit Computer; what is the nature of the "careful checks" made with a view to ensuring that information entered in this computer is accurate; under what conditions particulars entered in this computer will be deleted, and whether a person who had been suspected of involvement in abuse or attempted abuse of the immigration laws would have his particulars removed when the suspicions were dispelled; in what form information relating to overstayers is transferred from the Immigration and Nationality Department Computer at Bootle to this computer, and how many persons' records were transferred in 1982, and what evidence would be required of abuse or attempted abuse of the immigration laws before a person suspected of those actions would have his particulars entered in the computer.
§ Lord Elton
The "clearly defined categories" of persons whose particulars are entered on the Immigration Service Intelligence Unit computer are those served with notice of further examination who leave the United Kingdom before consideration of their case is complete; those removed from the United Kingdom as illegal entrants, or as seamen deserters, or following refusal of leave to enter (unless entry of the record is inappropriate, for example because refusal was due to the lack of a required visa); those refused entry clearances; and those who abscond before completion of their examination. Details of persons deported from the United Kingdom are entered unless they are included in the Warning List held by immigration officers at ports. Reports submitted to the Immigration Service Intelligence Unit on persons in these categories will indicate how the information in them has been verified by the writer, but, with a view to ensuring that data included on the computer are accurate, all items are scrutinised locally by an immigration officer or, in appropriate cases, by a senior officer.
All data are cancelled after seven years unless further information has come to light since its entry, 823WA and an entry is deleted if suspicions about the subject's involvement in abuse of the immigration laws have been dispelled. Details are entered on the computer if an overstayer comes to light during a joint immigration service and police inquiry, but no records relating to overstayers were transferred from the Immigration and Nationality Department computer at Bootle during 1982.
It is not possible to state precisely what evidence is required of abuse or attempted abuse of the immigration laws before a person suspected of those actions has his particulars entered on the computer. Much depends upon the source and apparent reliability of the information.