asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 9 October (WA 52), what recommendations were made by the end of October regarding the legal requirement for prisoners to provide evidence of their nationality; what is the timetable for implementing these proposals; and what effect the proposals will have on the average length of time a foreign prisoner is held in custody following the end of his sentence. [HL541]
An announcement will be made shortly on how this area of work is being taken forward.
The Home Secretary made it clear that by spring of 2007 we will reach the position where the consideration of deportation for all foreign nationals will begin six months before the end of their sentences. We are making steady progress towards that as we deal with the backlog and the director-general of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate confirmed in December that deportation is now considered around two months before release in many cases. As progress is made in this area, we will be able to complete consideration and make arrangements for deportation in appropriate cases without the need to detain foreign national prisoners beyond their normal release date.