HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 cc104-5W
Mr. Wiggin

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people failed to comply with the conditions associated with their temporary immigration status in each year since 1997; and how many were reprimanded as a result; [73739]

(2) how many persons have been temporarily admitted to the UK in each year since 1997; and what sanctions are used in the event of non-compliance with the conditions associated with their temporary status. [73747]

Beverley Hughes

The information requested, on the number of persons who have been temporarily admitted to the United Kingdom, have failed to comply with the conditions associated with their temporary immigration status, and were reprimanded as a result, is not available.

Failure to comply with the conditions attached to a grant of temporary admission or release without a reasonable excuse is an offence under section 24(1)(e) of the Immigration Act 1971. Depending on the circumstances, consideration may also be given to varying the conditions or detaining the person concerned.

Information from the Home Office Court Proceedings database on a principal immigration offence basis indicates that in 2000, four persons were prosecuted under section 24(1)(e) of the Immigration Act 1971, and three were found guilty. Information for 2001 is due to be published in the Command Paper "Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 2001" on 29 November 2002.

Mr. Wiggin

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to modify the systems for tracking illegal immigrants. [73777]

Beverley Hughes

The nature of illegal entry is such that it is not possible to track every individual who has entered the United Kingdom unlawfully.

However, on detection, those liable to removal may be granted temporary admission pending a decision whether to grant leave or remove.

Temporary admission may be subject to conditions of residence, employment and reporting to the Police or an Immigration Officer. Failure to comply with these conditions is an offence. A person detained under Immigration Act powers may be released on bail, subject to conditions, which may include a requirement to report.

I outlined in my reply to the hon. Member of 16 July, Official Report, column 224W, measures for contact management which are in place to track and monitor all failed asylum seekers whether illegal entrants or not. This is to ensure that they are removed from the United Kingdom if they do not appeal or as soon as possible after their appeal rights have been exhausted. Since my earlier reply the number of designated reporting centres has been increased to eight, and plans are in hand to enhance contact management further by the use of mobile reporting centres, Immigration Service teams using specified police stations for reporting and for visiting asylum seekers at their accommodation.

The Immigration and Nationality Directorate are currently undertaking a project to amalgamate their Ports, Enforcement and Casework Information Technology Systems into a joint database. This project is in its early stages. However, once completed, it should enhance our ability to track those illegal entrants who have been detected.

Additionally, the Government is developing strategies to detect clandestine illegal entrants before they get to the United Kingdom. On 12 July my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary agreed a range of measures with his French counterpart to reduce the level of illegal immigration between France and the United Kingdom. As part of this the Immigration Service is committed to deploying new detection technology (such as heart beat detectors and millimetric wave imagers) at Calais and other continental ports.

The government has also created Reflex, a multi-agency forum to direct all activity against organised immigration crime targeting the United Kingdom. Reflex aims to reduce the profits made by the criminal gangs, raise the risks they face and reduce the opportunities for them to exploit individuals, thereby reducing the flow of illegal migrants to the United Kingdom. It achieves this through a combination of overseas and United Kingdom based activity. Since April 2002, 16 organised crime groups involved in people smuggling and trafficking have been disrupted and there are currently 60 operations targeting serious criminal involvement ongoing. Nine Immigration Liaison Officers have been posted overseas to work closely with local law enforcement to disrupt the flows of illegal migrants to the United Kingdom and a United Kingdom-led project assisting the State Border Service in Bosnia has seen a reduction of over 90 per cent. of potential illegal migrants passing through Sarajevo airport.

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