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Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Volume 447: debated on Monday 19 June 2006

11. What steps he is taking to improve the administration of the immigration and nationality directorate. (77881)

I thank the Minister for that question.

I ask him, however, to look at the deportation of husbands of arranged marriages. I know of several examples of women who are being harassed. They have given information to the Department. Even though their husbands’ appeals have failed, the IND has not taken steps to remove them.

I hope that what I gave was something of an answer, rather than a question.

The hon. Gentleman raises an important issue. I will be happy to look into it further with him.

One suggestion that the Minister has already made to reduce the backlogs that plague his Department is an amnesty for all illegal immigrants. His predecessor rejected it because he could not give even a rough estimate of how many illegal immigrants there are in Britain. It would be highly irresponsible even to consider an amnesty without knowing the numbers that it would cover. I am sure that the Minister is not irresponsible, so can he give us that number?

The hon. Gentleman talked about an amnesty. It is true that we have asked officials to look at quite a wide range of analysis as we prepare to reform the IND. However, the point that I made to the Home Affairs Committee was clear: we expect the enforcement and removal regime to be strengthened. Therefore, there are no plans for an amnesty, because that would cut against the position and direction of policy that we set out so clearly.