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Immigration checks in the UK

Volume 590: debated on Monday 12 January 2015

The Petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that current immigration checks in the UK are not tough enough; further that the Petitioners believe that the checks should mean that if an individual has no job, no money and a criminal record, they should be denied entry to the UK; and further that a Petition in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West Constituency on this matter has received over 800 signatures.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to enforce stringent checks on immigration to stop criminals from entering the UK and breaking laws.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Tom Greatrex, Official Report, 10 November 2014; Vol. 587, c. 1272.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for the Home Department:

The Government have detailed arrangements in place to identify people of concern who are attempting to enter the UK. All passengers are checked against police, security and immigration watchlists upon arrival and, where the Government are aware of individuals who pose a risk, Border Force officers can—and do—refuse them entry.

The Government operate a framework of mandatory bans on non European Economic Area (EEA) foreign criminals entering the UK, where the Government are aware of their offending.

For those sentenced to up to 12 months imprisonment it is mandatory to refuse any application for entry to the UK made for five years from the end of sentence, for those sentenced to between 12 months and four years imprisonment it is mandatory to refuse any application for entry to the UK made for 10 years from the end of the sentence and for those sentenced to four or more years imprisonment any application to enter the UK is a permanent mandatory refusal.

In addition to decisions being made on the basis of convictions, a non EEA foreign national is also liable to be refused entry on discretionary grounds due to their character, conduct and associations.

All non EEA nationals who are applying to come and stay in the UK for six months or longer are required to disclose any criminal convictions. Where someone has failed to disclose a criminal conviction and the conviction is subsequently discovered, action can be taken to curtail their immigration status because of the deception.

The Government are working with a number of countries to improve the exchange of information about offenders and has signed information sharing agreements with Albania, Australia, Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, New Zealand and the United States.

Where the Government receive information that a European economic area national presents a genuine threat to society, the Government are able to take action to prevent entry to the UK. A criminal conviction, depending on the circumstances, may be enough evidence to show that an EEA national is a present and genuine threat to society.

The onus for flagging such individuals lies with the authorities in their home country and the Government are leading the way in Europe on improving the exchange of information in cases involving dangerous criminals. The Government are one of the biggest users of the European criminal record information system (ECRIS) and is finalising preparations to connect to the second generation Schengen information system (SIS II) which will allow us to identify individuals wanted by other European law enforcement agencies at our borders, including those subject to a European arrest warrant (EAW).