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Airports (Immigration Staff)

Volume 300: debated on Friday 7 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances Her Majesty's immigration service is permitted to waive the requirement to provide staff at all United Kingdom airport terminals. [14251]

It is not a requirement of the Immigration Act 1971 for immigration officers to be present at an airport terminal building. The Act provides for the Secretary of State to designate control areas for the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers in any port and for the port operator to take all reasonable steps to secure that notified conditions and restrictions which apply to a designated area are observed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the United Kingdom airports at which Her Majesty's immigration staff are employed, together with the number of immigration officers employed at each. [14250]

The details requested are set out below.

Port Number of immigration officers on 1 October 1997
Gatwick North132·7
Gatwich South135·4
Heathrow Terminal 1147·2
Heathrow Terminal 2160·7
Heathrow Terminal 3243·7
Heathrow Terminal 4157·2
Brize Norton3
Leeds Bradford11·6
Manchester Tn133·2
Manchester Tn230·5
East Midlands14
Port Number of immigration officers on 1 October 1997
London City13·1
In the above table there are certain offices which cover both seaports and airports. Immigration officers also attend other airports as necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria are used to determine the number of Her Majesty's immigration staff employed at each of the United Kingdom's airports. [14249]

The deployment of Immigration Service operational staff at airports is determined by a number of factors. These include the pattern and timing of flight movements, the volume and nature of passenger traffic together with other control demands such as clandestine entry and asylum casework.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of Her Majesty's immigration service costs arising from duties undertaken at United Kingdom airports is charged to airports; and what proportion is borne by public funds. [14248]

The cost of staffing the immigration control at both ports and airports in the United Kingdom, in accordance with the requirements laid down by the Secretary of State, is met entirely from public funds.The Immigration Service charges for the provision of additional immigration services under section 9(4) of the Immigration Act 1988. The total receipts generated by these services for 1997–98 are expected to make up about 3.5 per cent. of the resources available to the Immigration Service Ports Directorate. I am unable to provide a disaggregation of the proportion of receipts between airports and other locations because to do so would risk breaching commercial confidentiality.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to improve the out-of-hours service of the immigration office at East Midlands airport. [13928]

The immigration office at East Midlands airport is staffed 24 hours a day. The uneven pattern of passenger arrivals means that there are times when only one immigration officer is required on duty. However, when that officer is unable to answer telephone calls immediately because of operational duties away from the office an answerphone service is provided. I do not have any plans to change this arrangement, which generally works well.