HL Deb 30 March 1983 vol 440 c1629WA
Lord Avebury

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will give examples of the circumstances in which a data user who would otherwise preserve confidentiality of data in accordance with the data protection principles of Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Bill would be asked by a data user under control of the Home Office to provide data in accordance with the provisions of Clause 28(2) of the Bill for the purposes mentioned in Clause 28(1)(d), where no crime has been committed or is suspected.

Lord Elton

In the exercise of his duties, an entry clearance officer or immigration officer must be satisfied that a person seeking to enter the United Kingdom qualifies to do so under the Immigration Rules. Similarly, those rules require that, in deciding whether a person's limited leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom should be varied, account is to be taken of all the relevant facts.

It follows that it is sometimes necessary to make enquiries in the United Kingdom to establish whether an applicant qualifies for leave to enter or remain. It may, for example, be necessary to seek information about a student's attendance record at a place of education or whether a person here for medical treatment is meeting the costs of that treatment.

For the effective enforcement of immigration control, it may be necessary for information to be disclosed on other occasions—for example, where a European Community national has become a charge on public funds or to locate a person against whom deportation proceedings are to be taken. On all these occasions, the information is being sought not for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime but for the purposes of immigration control.

Where the information being sought is held in the form of data on a computer, it will be unlikely that the immigration authorities will have been registered as a person to whom the data user intends to disclose data. The exemption from the non-disclosure provisions of the Bill for the purposes of immigration control will enable a data user who is asked to disclose information to the immigration authorities in these circumstances to do so if he so wishes.