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Exclusion Orders: International Cooperation

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 14 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the UK’s list of persons who are to be denied travel to and admission into the UK is automatically shared with the border agency authorities of (a) the Netherlands, (b) other European Union member states and (c) other states and jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement. (309980)

[holding answer 11 January 2010]: The UK Border Agency holds a watchlist of adverse information drawn from a variety of sources, including visa refusals, the police, SOCA and other Government Departments. The system is used by UK Border Agency staff for the purposes of national security and the detection and prevention of crime. Refusal of entry may be based on information from any of these sources.

The UK Border Agency does not automatically share information held on the UK watchlist with The Netherlands. The only European member state that the UK Border Agency regularly shares information with, including that held on immigration watchlists, is the Irish Government.

This is undertaken on a routine basis in some instances and on a specific, case-by-case in others. We have a longstanding policy not to disclose exactly what information is shared.

Data sharing with the Irish Government remains a key area for increased co-operation between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and was recognised as such in the ‘Strengthening The Common Travel Area’ public consultation and subsequent response.

Decisions as to whether it is appropriate and proportionate to share information held on the watchlist with authorities in other countries are made by the owners of that information, on a case-by-case basis.

As the UK Border Agency does not own all of the data held on the watchlist, we cannot comment on the data-sharing policies of other data owners.