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Border and Immigration Agency

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) operations there were in (a) 2007 and (b) the last 10 years; what records her Department maintains on (i) the number of arrests made during BIA operations and (ii) the number of BIA operations which take place during which no arrests are made; what approval from whom is required for BIA operations; what notice an establishment receives before a BIA operation takes place on its premises; what the maximum number of times an establishment may be raided in a 12 month period is; what obligations there are upon the BIA to avoid unnecessary disruption of business activities during its operations; and if she will make a statement. (207175)

Information on how many United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) operations there were in 2007 and in the last 10 years and details of records maintained on the number of arrests made during UKBA operations are set out in the following table.

Operational activity




Total enforcement visits




Number of arrests made




Number of operations where no arrests made




1 Data not recorded prior to 2007-08

Prior to April 2005 the UKBA did not produce regular reports on numbers of individuals arrested. The data provided are management information. They may be subject to change and do not represent published national statistics.

All UKBA operations are authorised in advance. Operations are grouped into three tiers (lower, middle and upper) and each tier is authorised at a different level. All UKBA operations are intelligence led. There is no limit on the number of times premises can be visited and the UKBA is under no obligation to avoid unnecessary disruption of the employer's business activities during its operations. Officers will always try to ensure that any disruption to members of the public during such operations is kept to a minimum.

Employers can work in co-operation with UKBA. However, in certain cases employers may be reluctant to assist UKBA officials in the identification of illegal workers. In these instances no notice is given and officers are advised to obtain a warrant in order to gain entry to the premises.

Chapter 31.5 of Enforcement Instructions and Guidance details the levels of authority for operations. Chapters 18.6 and 18.7 provide illegal working guidance, Copies of the document are placed in the Library of the House. It is also available to view at: