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Grand Committee

Volume 694: debated on Wednesday 25 July 2007

Grand Committee

Wednesday, 25 July 2007.

The Committee met at fifteen minutes to four.

[The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Haskel) in the Chair.]

UK Borders Bill

(Sixth Day)

Good afternoon. I have to announce that if there is a Division in the Chamber while we are sitting, the Committee will adjourn as soon as the Division Bell is rung and will resume after 10 minutes.

69: Before Clause 56, insert the following new Clause—

“Report on overseas marriage and civil partnership visas

The Secretary of State shall lay a report before both Houses of Parliament within one year of the coming into force of this Act on the desirability of—

(a) raising the age limit for marriage visas and civil partnership visas;(b) the introduction of a requirement for spouses to have a basic knowledge of English; and(c) the development of a code of conduct for entry clearance officers and Home Office officials.”

The noble Lord said: This amendment, tabled in the names of my noble friends Lady Anelay and Lord Bridgeman, addresses the issue of whether or not marriage visa restrictions should be tightened, and, if so, how. It requires the Secretary of State to produce a report setting out, first, the arguments for and against raising the minimum age limit for marriage visas and civil partnership visas; secondly, the merit of introducing a requirement for spouses to have a basic knowledge of the English language; and, thirdly, details of the development of a code of conduct for entry clearance officers and Home Office officials.

Any United Kingdom citizen can bring in a spouse from another country as long as both the spouse and the sponsor are aged over 18. In 2005, 41,560 fiancés and spouses came to this country—an increase of 26 per cent on 2000 when the total was 32,950. It is a significant increase and one wonders why that has happened. Spouses come to the UK on a visa which allows them to remain for two years prior to applying for settlement. We have considerable concern about the vulnerability and welfare of young women, often from rural backgrounds with no command of English, who are brought into the UK and cannot play a full part in British society. We believe that they need better protection. It has also been argued that this process can hold back integration for a further generation as children are born into households where English is not spoken by the mother.

I believe that the Government share these concerns because they have increased the lower age limit for marriage partners from 16 to 18 and have said that they will consult on raising it further, although at the moment there is little sign of that consultation taking place. I understand that raising the minimum age for a spouse and their sponsor from 18 to 21 years would not require primary legislation, but could be done simply by changing the Immigration Rules. Perhaps the Minister would like to confirm that that is the case. Can he also tell us what consultation, if any, the Government have carried out on raising the minimum age, with what results, and when it is to be put before Parliament?

Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights covers the issue of marriage by stating that:

“Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life”.

Article 12 then confirms the right to marry. However, as no doubt the noble Lord will be aware, states have a wide margin of appreciation under Article 8, and immigration control has consistently been held by the ECHR to relate to the preservation of the economic well-being of the country, the prevention of disorder and crime, the protection of health and morals, and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. The measure must nevertheless be necessary and proportionate to such an aim, and we would certainly argue that proposals to tighten up the marriage visa restrictions are both necessary and proportionate to such an aim.

I also note that the Court of Appeal recently made a decision that appears to be directly relevant to the debate. I refer the Minister to the case of Crown against the Secretary of State for Home Affairs on behalf of Baiai and others, which was reported in the Times on 26 June. The Court of Appeal held that the statutory scheme requiring permission by the Home Office for marriage by people subject to immigration control or those who had entered the UK illegally contravened Articles 12 and 14 of the European convention guaranteeing the right to marry and prohibiting discrimination on grounds of nationality or religion. What impact has that judgment had on the power of the Home Secretary to persist with the scheme that requires permission for marriage, especially in the light of the judgment of Lord Justice Buxton that, in the light of convention jurisprudence, the Home Secretary could interfere with the exercise of Article 12 rights only in cases that involved, or very likely involved, sham marriages entered into with the object of improving the immigration status of one of the parties?

My amendment is tabled as a probing amendment for three reasons: to probe the Government's current intentions on the matter, to ask the Government to explain what procedures they intend to put in place as a consequence of the Court of Appeal decision, and because the provisions of the amendment form part of the process of consultation that we have embarked on about the proposals. I beg to move.

Raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 at which foreign nationals can get a marriage visa was foreshadowed by the Minister in another place, Liam Byrne, in March and has had a fairly general welcome, although for reasons already partly adduced by my noble kinsman in moving the amendment, we have reservations on it. In the debate on Second Reading of the Forced Marriages Bill, which my noble friend Lord Lester so brilliantly piloted through your Lordships’ House, my noble friend Lady Falkner of Margravine drew attention to the UN Population Fund’s finding that in many countries, more than half the women were married by the age of 18. She observed that, where early marriage was a deeply ingrained cultural practice,

“it is inevitable that values held by British communities in those countries will reflect similar patterns of thinking”—[Official Report, 26/1/07; col. 1334.]

She went on to say that in many of those communities the girl’s consent is not considered necessary and that, given the fact that marriages were often arranged by parents when the girl was very young, informed consent was not possible.

The tacit assumption behind the amendment is that, with the increase in age, young women will be better able to make up their minds freely on a proposed marriage and to resist coercion by their parents or the extended family. But in a patriarchal society, the pressure on a woman to accept the dictation on a personal matter such as marriage may not diminish with age. I am not aware of any evidence to show that the 3,000 women aged between 18 and 21 who come to Britain for the purpose of marriage every year will be saved from forced marriage by raising the age.

On the other hand, where two persons, one of whom is aged between 18 and 21, are denied the means of living together as spouses, as the noble Lord, Lord Henley, said, Article 8(1), the right to family life, may be infringed, as well as Article 12, which allows spouses to live together as a married couple. It is not clear that the interference is either in pursuance of a legitimate aim or necessary and proportionate.

If the legitimate aim is to prevent forced marriage, there would have to be some evidence that it happens disproportionately to younger adults. I was surprised to learn that in Dakar, the majority of the marriage visa applications are dealt with on paper, with only 5 to 10 per cent being interviewed by the entry certificate officer. If there is reason to suppose that there are problems, they ought to interview 100 per cent of the applicants and ask them questions to ascertain whether they have indeed given informed consent. If, having done that over a period, there was evidence to show that 18 to 21-year olds were not happy about their proposed marriages, it could be argued that a blanket denial of visas to the whole group was at least in pursuance of a legitimate aim.

I hope that the Government will consult their own national forced marriage steering group, which includes representatives from the voluntary sector, statutory agencies and central government, to see whether they have any evidence to satisfy the legitimate aim test. They should reinforce the ECOs in Dakar and other relevant posts so that, while this matter is under consideration, they interview 100 per cent of applicants for marriage visas to ensure that they have given informed consent. Meanwhile, it would obviously be premature to raise the age limit without that information.

The idea that spouses should have a basic knowledge of English might be held to be in conflict with Article 8(1), and is, I would suggest, totally impractical. Many who come here for marriage would not be able to afford English lessons in the country of origin, even if they were available.

On 26 February your Lordships debated the funding cuts in English for speakers of other languages. In that debate, there were five Lib Dem speakers and one solitary Tory, who was detailed to speak from the Front Bench. If the Tories are so keen on everybody living here being able to speak English, where were they then?

I will let noble Lords opposite think about what the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, said and ponder on the point he left with Members of the Committee to consider. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Henley, for his contribution because it enables the Government to set out their view on the subject.

I am sure that noble Lords will not require me to remind them, but I shall do so for form’s sake. The Government produced our strategy, Securing the UK Border, which was published in March this year. On page 13 we said that we would consult on three proposals—the very ones that have been chosen, very wisely, for this amendment, although I see that our code of practice has transmogrified into a code of conduct. We then consider what changes may be necessary as a consequence of our deliberations on these ideas.

We are very close to finishing our preparations to consult on this matter, although I should inform noble Lords that we are not considering including the possibility of requiring spouses to have a basic knowledge of English in this package of measures for consultation and discussion. That is because it would take us further than targeting the complex, but, none the less, distressing practice known as forced marriage. The other proposals are designed to help to equip young people born in this country to avoid situations of coercion and pressure where forced marriage is the consequence.

The other proposal for a basic knowledge of English is a requirement aimed at partners and prospective partners who are overseas and before entry. It seeks to establish that they have skills to participate fully in the economic and social sense, and we feel that it belongs to considerations about integration and long-term employment prospects, which are much wider than preventing forced marriage. Therefore, it is not being included in the consultation on visas for marriage.

Members of the Committee, and many others, will be fully informed of the outcome of our work on forced marriage, and of our further work on long-term participation in life in the UK.

The noble Lord, Lord Henley, rightly asked for further information about consultation. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, quite understandably, was also very concerned about that. We intend to publish a consultation document for the traditional three-month period of consultation after the Recess. It will obviously reflect the comments made thus far on our strategy document.

The noble Lord, Lord Henley, asked what impact the Baiai case had on the scheme for requiring permission to marry. It is correct that the Court of Appeal found that the way we operate the scheme is incompatible with Article 12. We are petitioning the House of Lords for leave to appeal. In the mean time we can continue to operate the scheme and still require those subject to immigration control to seek permission, but cannot refuse to grant permission without investigating whether the marriage is genuine. If we find that the marriage is a sham, we can still refuse permission. That is the position. Depending on the outcome of our petition to the House of Lords, we are considering what further action to take in relation to the scheme.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, referred to the issue of the age limit. His comments on the subject were interesting, although I am not entirely sure I agree with him. I think there is some benefit. As I have explained, we intend to consult on these issues, and no doubt that will inform our discussions later in the year.

Having advised the Committee of where we are at, I hope noble Lords will feel able to withdraw their amendment.

Before the noble Lord, Lord Henley, replies, I should like to say something about entry clearance officers. They have a pretty thankless task to perform, and their role is essentially unglamorous. Given that, would it be helpful for them to have a code of conduct? So much for that.

I hope that the importation into this country of spouses will not have to go on for ever. It would be good if a state of affairs were reached in this country where there was a sufficient pool of young men and women available for marriage, so that ethnic minorities in particular did not feel that they were under an obligation to choose an overseas bride. That is all I want to say.

I am glad that I thought I saw some sign of movement from the Minister, in that he did not completely reject the idea of a change in the age limit of—that is, the idea of increasing it—and said that that would be subject to further consultation. Perhaps at a later stage of the Bill after the summer we can hear more about that consultation.

I found the remarks on the subject of raising the age from my noble kinsman Lord Avebury very depressing, saying that it would not make it easier in patriarchal societies for young girls to resist forced or coerced marriages or even to give proper informed consent. It might be that a lot of these young girls are coming from patriarchal societies, but my limited experience of daughters implies that they can still resist what fathers might suggest. I can take my noble kinsman back to the England of Jane Austen, which was, if nothing else, a patriarchal society, and we all know from that that young girls were able on occasion to resist what their fathers might suggest. A little age often makes it somewhat easier to do that. It would therefore be a good idea for the Government to think about that further and certainly to consult further on the possibility of raising the age for such young girls so that they had a greater chance of resisting a forced or coerced marriage.

I was grateful to my noble kinsman for suggesting that all applicants should be interviewed in their country of origin before they come here to make it clear that they are capable of giving proper, informed consent and that the marriage was not sham, forced or coerced. I do not know whether we will want to come back to this later, but I hope we will hear more in due course from the Government. They might want to reflect on it during the summer and before Report stage.

I will withdraw this amendment now but it is likely that I will wish to come back with it at a later stage in order to hear what further developments there have been over the course of the summer, what consultations there have been and how far the Government are going in their application for leave to appeal against the judgment in the Baiai case. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

70: Before Clause 56, insert the following new Clause—

“Access to immigration advice in police custody

(1) Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971 (c. 77) is amended as follows.

(2) After paragraph 25C insert—

“25CA (1) This paragraph applies if—

(a) a person has been detained under this Schedule; and(b) is in custody at a police station.(2) Persons to whom this paragraph applies shall have access to immigration advice on request.”.”

The noble Lord said: The amendment was tabled at the instigation of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, which foresees that, as a result of the enforcement provisions in this Bill and the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, police stations are likely to be used increasingly as places of immigration detention. When the crackdown on employment of people with limited leave to remain starts later this year, presumably there will be a jump in the number of people detained, some of whom will be detained in police stations.

Under the present rules, immigration detainees can be held in police custody for up to five days, or seven days immediately prior to deportation. That is laid down in chapter 38 of the operation enforcement manual. The facilities in police detention are not suitable, even for those limited periods, as we saw in the case of Janipher Maseko, which I have quoted already on two occasions. She was held in Crawley police station for three to four days without having a shower, even though she was still bleeding from the recent delivery of her little boy, Collin. Because she had no access to legal advice while she was there, nothing was done about reuniting her with Collin or her other child, Chantelle until some time later when she was in Yarl’s Wood.

We have also received an e-mail from the TGWU that sets out its experience with workers who have been arrested and taken into custody in a police station. I have passed a copy to the Minister, although I am sure that he will not have had time to study it and I would not expect him to respond now. The union tells me that the first it knows of a worker being arrested for an immigration offence is when someone fails to show up for work. The union then has to ring a number of police stations because there is no easy way of discovering where a person is being held. When the union finds out in which police station the member is detained, it tries to arrange for a police station-accredited solicitor to attend and offer advice. Frequently when that is done, the union finds that the duty officer in the station refuses to accept a person with those qualifications because they say a suitably accredited immigration solicitor should offer the advice.

To cut a long story short—there is much to be studied in the TGWU memorandum—persons can be detained for up to five days in a police station and, at the end of that process, they can be “persuaded” to accept voluntary return to their countries of origin as a result of threats that if they do not do so they will be subject to criminal charges. Many people then accept the easy way out of going back to where they came from, rather than going through the hoops of a prosecution. All of this can happen without any legal advice being made available to the individual.

We also have concerns about victims of trafficking for forced labour who may be apprehended and held in police custody as illegal entrants, instead of being given the care and support that they obviously need. The action plan on human trafficking—which, as the Minister knows, we strongly support in principle—rightly calls for an increase in police activity to combat human trafficking, but initially it may not be easy for the police to distinguish between an illegal economic migrant and a victim of trafficking for forced labour. The person claiming to be such a victim must have the right to legal advice immediately.

The Home Office’s recently published Trafficking for the Purposes of Labour Exploitation: A Literature Review acknowledges that there is very little robust evidence of the trafficking of adults for labour exploitation, though the researchers go so far as to say that victims are to be found in agriculture, construction, nursing, care work, domestic work and hospitality. There is no standardised guidance on how to identify or treat adult victims, but there is enough information to show the growing importance of the problem. That is confirmed by the opinions of the TUC and Anti-Slavery International. Therefore we should take immediate steps to implement Article 15 of the Council of Europe convention which states that state parties must ensure that,

“victims have access, as from their first contact with the competent authorities, to information on relevant judicial and administrative proceedings in a language that they can understand”,

and,

“provide…legal assistance and…free legal aid for victims”.

I hope that at least the Minister will accept the amendment in principle and give an assurance that Article 15 will be implemented before the introduction of the new illegal working regime later this year. I beg to move.

I strongly support my noble friend’s amendment. At the present time, all legislation seems to be more restrictive and more traditional. An amendment was proposed earlier that we should increase the gaol term from two years to four years and here we are again talking about imprisonment. We always seem to adopt this sort of approach instead of accepting the opportunity provided by this legislation to consider alternatives. We already have the largest prison population per head in Europe and it is time for us to say, “Let us look again at the legislation”. What consideration is being given to alternatives to imprisonment?

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has done a service to the Committee in bringing forward this amendment. On those grounds, I hope it will receive a warmer and more welcoming response from the Government.

I understand the motivation for this amendment but it is not one that we consider necessary. I shall set out why that view is taken. It is important that individuals who have been detained under Immigration Act powers should be able to access competent, independent advice and representation at an early point. So there is no difference between us on that first principle. All detainees are given details of how to contact the Immigration Advisory Service and the Refugee Legal Centre at the point of initial detention. This is reinforced by the requirements in the removal centre operating standards for detainees to be informed of their right to legal representation and how they can obtain such representation within 24 hours of their arrival at an immigration removal centre. In practice, this information is normally provided on arrival at the centre. Information about the Immigration Advisory Service, the Refugee Legal Centre, a list of legal representatives and a list of approved immigration advisers must be held in the centre library and be made available to detainees.

I am aware of concerns that where immigration detainees are held initially at police stations—usually before they are transferred to a removal centre—it may not always have been easy for them to gain ready access to immigration advice. I also know that this issue has been highlighted by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons and the JCWI.

The Legal Services Commission were concerned that crime duty solicitors, who would normally be contacted on behalf of detainees, are not best placed to provide advice to individuals held at police stations for non-criminal immigration matters, and wanted to explore how this gap might best be filled.

The LSC have therefore been running a pilot scheme since June 2006 to provide independent immigration advice by telephone on non-criminal immigration matters to people detained at police stations. It believes that telephone advice is the most effective and responsive method of providing advice to these people, who will usually be held for very short periods in police stations before being transferred to an immigration removal centre or released. The pilot exercise has provided detainees at police stations with easy access to legal advice. It complements the advice surgeries that the LSC has put in place at removal centres. The LSC is evaluating the pilot before considering whether to make it permanent, although initial indications are that it works well.

Therefore, we are alert to the concerns that lie behind the amendment and are tackling them in a practical way. I hope that noble Lords opposite will agree that this is a sensible and effective way of addressing the issue, and most likely to achieve real practical benefits for those concerned. I suppose that what lies behind this is the question: why are immigration detainees held in police stations? Initially, they may be held in relation to criminal matters, including immigration offences, before being either transferred or, where that is not appropriate, released. There are limits to the period of time that detainees can be held in police stations. They can be held only for a maximum of five days, perhaps with the addition of a further two days if removal directions are set within that period.

We believe that we are providing detainees with sufficient support and legal advice. We are not aware of extensive complaints, although I am very interested to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, will say on that matter. I should be most grateful to hear from the noble Lord if there are cases where there is a problem so that they can be properly investigated. The noble Lord has previously raised the issue of the Crawley case. I am sure that is being properly looked at. I was very grateful to the noble Lord for raising the issue of bogus immigration advisers the other day. I think that that underlines the importance of having suitably accredited immigration advisers and solicitors in place. Some years ago, we put in place legislation to ensure that the issue was, if you like, put back on the straight and narrow and that there were offences for misrepresenting people’s ability to give proper, accurate and timely advice on immigration matters.

The noble Lord, Lord Roberts, made a plea for alternatives to prison. That seemed like a general plea and not one specifically related to what is in front of us this afternoon. I do not intend to go into great details about penal policy and why we have the range of measures that we do. That would not assist us greatly in considering this particular issue this afternoon, but of course the noble Lord is welcome to raise that issue more generally in your Lordships’ House. I know that he has in the past.

Before the noble Lord sits down, I should like briefly to return to the points I was making earlier about technical offences. Will the Government consider issuing guidance to magistrates’ courts and possibly even Crown Courts so that people who come to this country, whether as asylum seekers, migrant workers or whatever, are not given custodial sentences for offences which they may well have committed in ignorance of our law? If they are given custodial sentences, it makes a very bad start to their time in this country and makes it far harder for them to prepare their case, whether for asylum or some other form of permission.

Before the Minister replies, from these Benches may I say that the Government will strongly resist the suggestion that the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, has put. I know he makes the suggestion for a good and principled reason, but I hope that in this country the independent judiciary would not be given direction by the Executive on how it should sentence.

That is precisely the point I was about to make. I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her support. These cases have to be considered on a case-by-case basis, that is only proper, and it would not be right for us to act in the way the noble Lord is suggesting. I am sure that on further reflection he will probably agree with me.

I apologise for being late; I was tied up with the Statement on national security. I have two issues on which the Minister may wish to respond. First, almost all police stations have lay visitors. It is difficult for people who are detained to be able to trust someone at the other end of the phone; nor do I have much confidence in the ability of duty solicitors to provide the right advice on immigration matters. Does the Minister consider it appropriate to supply details of accredited advisors to lay visitors so that if any query of this nature comes in they are in a position to say who to get in touch with and what sort of advice may be appropriate in such cases?

Secondly—I have seen the correspondence of my noble friend Lord Avebury, which saves me putting a Written Question to the Minister—I was aware when the legislation was passed that some people often provided the wrong advice when they were not supposed to provide advice at all because of the legal requirements for people to be accredited to do so. How many people have been prosecuted for these kinds of offences? It is one thing to have something in statute; it is another when there is no way of finding out what is happening, not only in relation to prisons but generally in terms of immigration advice. There is sheer exploitation going on in relation to minorities in this country.

The noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, expresses some misgivings about telephone advice schemes. All I can report to the Committee is what has been found as part of the pilot, which has been a useful and constructive experience. There needs to be a period of reflection about how applicable it is and whether it can be rolled out more generally. I would have thought that someone being able to give quick advice on the end of a telephone was a most welcome development. If the individual felt somewhat vulnerable in an environment they did not well understand, at least they could understand the language and make use of the information and advice they were being given.

The telephone advice scheme uses accredited immigration advisers and lawyers. They are not general criminal lawyers; they have to have some expertise that meets the standard we wish to set. In 1999, when we considered these matters, we were particularly concerned to deal with the problem of poor quality and bogus advice and information being given out, and it is right that we should strive at all times to raise the standard.

The other point that the noble Lord made about lay visitors was interesting and I am happy to ask our advisers to give some general consideration to it.

I will have to take advice from the TGWU and the JCWI to see what they think of the pilots. I am not sure that the Minister actually said there would be any consultation before the pilots are to be rolled out throughout the country. It would be useful to know whether the Government have it in mind at least to share the results with organisations such as those I have mentioned. Obviously ILPA would have to come into the picture to see whether it agreed with the Minister that the pilots are an effective first line of defence, although I do not think they can be a substitute for face-to-face legal advice by a qualified immigration lawyer.

I fully take the point the Minister makes about the necessity of confining the giving of advice to recognised immigration lawyers, but I wonder whether a first line of defence might not be that the duty solicitor, who is there in the police station anyway, could at least listen to the case and pass on the details when a qualified immigration solicitor becomes available. At least he would have the basic knowledge of the law that would enable him to offer the sort of preliminary advice that people in that situation normally need and he would be doing it face to face, instead of through a telephone.

I foresee another difficulty with the provision of telephone advice. There will not always be an accredited solicitor available who can speak the language of the individual being detained. I do not quite know how Language Line or any of the other interpreting facilities normally used on such occasions can be brought into such telephone conversations. Can the noble Lord can tell me whether it is possible to set up three-way conversations between a police station, an accredited immigration solicitor and someone from Language Line so that the interpretation can be done live, as it were?

We should implement what the noble Lord said right at the start, which is that everyone should have access to proper advice on his situation within 24 hours of his detention. If that can be brought about, I shall be extremely happy, but the examples that we have had from the TGWU and the JCWI indicate that that has certainly not been the case in the past.

I invited the noble Lord to furnish us with some detail on that and I should be grateful if he could do that. Perhaps he could drop me a note on the issue and I will certainly cause some further investigation to be carried out. While I am on my feet, perhaps I should make plain to the Committee that the telephone pilot scheme is not, strictly speaking, a government scheme, it is a Legal Services Commission scheme and, in the end, it is for it to determine. It is evaluating the scheme and that evaluation is expected to be completed by October this year. It will be premature to talk about national roll-out at this stage. No doubt it will wish to consult others, including the Government, on that.

Detainees can of course get advice from duty solicitors and I am sure that they will continue to do so, especially in relation to any criminal matters that have been raised with them. Both the Legal Services Commission and practitioners were concerned that crime duty solicitors were not best placed to provide advice directly to individuals held at police stations for non-criminal immigration matters. They must be right in that assessment—must they not?—because we want those caught up in the immigration system to be given appropriate advice and crime specialists will not always be able to advise on non-criminal immigration law. They may or may not be able to refer people to an appropriately qualified immigration lawyer. That might not be within their range of knowledge and expertise, especially when they are considering issues outside what one might term normal office hours. But we accept that they are a route to getting better advice.

I fully accept what the Minister just said. I was simply seeking to build on what my noble friend said about lay visitors in police stations, who could at least pass on a request for legal advice to an appropriately qualified person. If the duty solicitor on criminal matters were also to be brought into the picture, he or she might be slightly better at taking down the initial details of the facts and then passing them on to an accredited solicitor, who would obviously be responsible for giving substantive advice to the person being detained.

I did not bring any of the individual cases cited to us by the TGWU to the Committee because they were anonymised. I have said to the person in charge of migrant workers at the TGWU that I would like to have further details so that I could do so. I will provide the noble Lord with the details so that they can be considered.

In the mean time, I simply reiterate that although it is not the responsibility of the Minister but of the LSC, I hope that before October the commission will see fit to consult on the pilots with the organisations that are principally involved in these issues; that is, the TGWU, the JCWI and ILPA. For now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

70A: Before Clause 56, insert the following new Clause—

“Provision of information to immigrants from A8 countries

(1) Information shall be made available to all persons entering the United Kingdom from A8 countries.

(2) The information provided under subsection (1) shall be determined by the Secretary of State but shall include information on—

(a) finding employment;(b) employment law, including rights and responsibilities and the worker registration scheme;(c) obtaining a national insurance number;(d) the provision of language training;(e) finding accommodation;(f) access to health care and education;(g) sources of further advice and support.(3) The information provided under subsection (1) shall be provided in a form determined by the Secretary of State.

(4) In this section the “A8 countries” are Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia.”

The noble Lord said: Throughout our debates, the Minister has not accepted a single amendment proposed by either the Liberal Democrats or the Conservatives, or indeed the Cross Benches. So I propose this amendment fully optimistic that it will be acceptable to the Government at hardly at any cost. I know that it is a wee bit off the main line, but it is now before us. The Minister is smiling, so my optimistic heart is renewed.

The amendment seeks to help in any way possible those coming to the UK from the eight accession countries: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia. In a response from the noble Lord, Lord McKenzie, received only today, I am told that:

“Workers from the accession-countries who are registered under the Home Office Worker Registration Scheme have a right to reside and are entitled to in-work benefits such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. If they are in part-time work, working 15 hours or less a week, they can also qualify for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. If they lose their job they lose their worker status, but will be able to remain in the UK to look for work. However, they will not have access to the benefit system. After 12 months of uninterrupted registered work they can have access to the full range of benefits”.

The problem is that many people will come here thinking that London will be as Dick Whittington envisaged it when he was Lord Mayor of London: that the streets were the streets of opportunity and paved with gold. When they arrive, they find that that is not the case. But the contribution being made by workers from the A8 countries is great. Over a period of 12 months to 31 March 2007, some 2,500 of these folk became bus, lorry or coach drivers; 5,700 became care workers; and 1,000 worked in the medical field as general practitioners and nurses. Very few applied for benefits, so it is safe to say that for the majority, there is no problem. A further interesting fact is that 83 per cent of the 630,000 registered workers who have come here are under 34 years of age. They are young people who are no drain at all on our benefits system. They contribute far more to our economy than they take from it.

However, there is a problem. I shall quote from a letter I received on 21 June from the director of housing for Westminster Council’s Children and Community Services:

“our main concern is for central government to ensure that provision is made for the most pressing need of most economic migrants who end up on the streets, especially those from the new Accession State countries—namely the provision of assistance to access the employment opportunities they have come to seek”,

Those who fall by the wayside should at least know before they come here, hopefully in the country of origin and definitely when they arrive at a port of entry—especially Victoria coach station, where in some weeks thousands arrive—that they will be given some information about the conditions they will find. They need to know how to look for employment, what our employment laws state, how to obtain a national insurance number, how to learn to speak English—I have some difficulties in that regard now and again—how to find accommodation, how to access healthcare and education, and social services for advice and support. Is such simple information made available, and in how many languages?

The County of Cornwall has published information for migrant workers which is a model for the rest of the United Kingdom. It is printed in four languages for those people from Poland and Russia—I cannot quite make out the other languages—who come here. Do the Government have anything like this available, printed in all the languages used by the accession countries? People should have it in their own language so that when they come here they will know that there is a lifeline—that there is some kind of hope—before they become destitute. I beg to move.

My noble friend is to be warmly congratulated on raising the important question of destitution among A8 nationals and the need for better outreach to them. We all recognise that in granting free movement to A8 citizens from the start, we gained a huge advantage in filling shortages of workers in a few sectors of our economy, some of which my noble friend has mentioned, and thus achieving higher growth rates than any other existing member state of the European Union.

My noble friend said that it is estimated that 630,000 people applied to register on the worker registration scheme between 1 May 2004 and 31 March 2007, but the net figure of those remaining here is obviously far lower because most come for short periods, especially in agriculture and other types of work which are of a seasonal nature. My noble friend quoted from the latest accession monitoring report which proves that 82 per cent of those migrants are aged between 18 and 34, and that 94 per cent had no dependants when they registered. So they are contributing a net amount to our economy, which is of enormous importance. In quarter one of 2007, only 848 A8 applicants for income support and jobseeker’s allowance were allowed to proceed for consideration. The rules permitting such applications are very restrictive, as my noble friend has said.

It was inevitable with such a large influx that a small proportion of them would not make it in the job market and would need some form of support other than social security benefits, to which, as the figure shows, very few are entitled. If it is sometimes difficult for our own citizens to access the social security system and services provided by local authorities, how much harder must it be for those people, for whom English is a second language and who are not familiar with British institutions such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, where the kind of advice that my noble friend advocates would be readily available.

One of the agencies which has done most to disseminate awareness of the specialist services available to eastern European migrants is Homeless Link. It has summarised the grants made to local authorities, particularly in London, to meet the challenges that they face. For instance, the Home Office made a one-off grant to the London Borough of Westminster of £250,000 to help A8 nationals return home and to assist others into employment. We are grateful for that. I wonder, however, if the Government are satisfied that the problem has been solved, and, if not, why they could not ask the International Organisation for Migration, which has vast experience of helping people who want to return to their countries of origin, to assist with A8 nationals who find themselves in this situation.

That would also mean that migrants who live in other parts of the country would be eligible, instead of only those who live in central London. We are grateful for what has been done for the City of Westminster, which received £200,000 in grants from the DCLG and the Home Office for interpretation services and community service officers. Given those generous awards to one local authority, why are others apparently not getting equivalent help? What grants have been made available in 2007-08 to help local authorities with destitute A8 nationals living in their areas, and to which local authorities have those grants been made?

My noble friend highlighted an extremely important problem and I hope that, as we approach the end of this Committee, the Minister will at least accept in principle my noble friend’s constructive proposal for dealing with it.

When the Minister replies, can he say what the Government’s attitude will be regarding information always being in the language of the person’s own country, given that the Prime Minister is extremely keen that people should learn English, if possible, before they come here? In those countries, the education system tends to ensure that people can speak English, but there will be those who cannot, I expect.

I support this important suggestion of my noble friend Lord Roberts of Llandudno, because of my experience in having carried out a major investigation of immigration procedures when I worked at the Commission for Racial Equality. One of the biggest problems in the process of migration that we have faced in this country from the late 1940s and early 1950s onwards is that there has never been a planned system of migration. People have come in because they have had a right to come to this country; but apart from that, there has been no planning whatever—unlike in other countries which have planned migration, such as Australia.

The result of this has been that the concentration of people has been limited to certain parts of the country and has, to an extent, created some of the difficult social problems in those areas. The only time that I remember the Government actually trying to do something positive was at the time of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians, when camps were set up to direct people to certain places. What is required—and this is what my noble friend is talking about—is a system whereby people coming to this country are able to understand what rights and privileges they could enjoy and what difficulties they may face.

It might be that my noble friend’s suggestion could be carried out by British embassies abroad before people come to this country. That would be perfectly feasible. The noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, is right to say that, wherever possible, the information should be in English, but I believe that my noble friend’s suggestion is to provide language training, so that people who come here are able to grasp our language, but to reach that stage, they may require information in the languages that they can speak.

Overall, people must be able to communicate in the country in which they live in the language of that country, but, equally, they must be given access so that they are aware. I say that, because, from time to time, when you open newspapers in this country and read about migrants from east European countries, there are some very sorry tales about people living in overcrowded conditions and being exploited—some of them even use public conveniences for overnight accommodation. We need to recognise that they will contribute economically to this country. They are going to help us in expanding and building our economy. Anything that we could do to make that experience positive on the basis of my noble friend’s suggestion could go a long way.

I know that the Government are always reluctant whenever good suggestions are made, and we have to fight for them, but this has very little cost implication and substantial implications in terms of mobility and the contribution that people from other countries can make to our economy.

We all recognise the contribution made to the economy by many of the economic migrants from the A8 countries. I daily see the contribution made by many of them; they may work in our local supermarkets, gather our food, process it—I see them working extraordinarily hard in some of the food processing plants in the east Midlands—and they may be involved in more professional capacities: they may enter our homes as expert plumbers; I have seen them sorting out the plumbing at Westminster.

The Government seriously underestimated the numbers of those who would come to this country from A8 countries. Along with the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, I took part in the debates before the statutory instruments were introduced. We were, I have to say, appalled by the complacency that the Government displayed. In a sense, that lies at the heart of this. Insufficient preparation was made.

Although I hate to do so, I must take issue to some extent with the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. He painted a picture of people not staying long. Recent research has shown that people are now deciding to stay. Originally it was thought that they would come and return fairly quickly but they are staying in greater numbers. I do not see that as a problem. If people are contributing to our economy and society, they should be welcome here as part of that society.

When the noble Lord moved his amendment, he—and those noble Lords who supported him—tried to impose on the Government a significant raft of information and advice that should be provided. I declare an unpaid interest as president of my local citizens advice bureau. In the past, I worked for some 20 years as a volunteer adviser. I would not wish to see the Government seizing control of information provision. That is rather like an old-fashioned Eastern European approach. I rejoice in the fact that voluntary organisations and local authorities around the country have a different approach to the provision of information. It may reflect local needs. It is important, as noble Lords on the Liberal Democrat Benches have said, to ensure that quality information is appropriately provided. The noble Lord, Lord Roberts, pointed to good practice in Cornwall. I am sure that we could all find examples of good practice. I declare an interest: I live in Woking, and must commend it on the way in which it provides written information and information on its website in a variety of languages that are appropriate to the area. We should rejoice in diversity, provided that the quality is there.

I also recognise the costs involved. I found breathtaking the way in which the amendment was introduced as being of no cost; I also heard talk about it being low cost. There are significant costs involved in providing such information. A lifetime ago—about 20 years ago—I was involved in proposing to the then Conservative Government, on behalf of the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, a system by which leaflets from the DHSS, as it was then called, would be translated into five languages. In order to do that, I had to provide a business model. That taught me the costs of providing that information in time and outsourcing. If noble Lords on the Liberal Democrat Benches think that this is either low cost or no cost, that shows why their Treasury predictions are shot to pieces half the time.

I will just enjoy the disputation that has been laid before us and let noble Lords on the Lib Dem Benches deal with that as they wish. I think I probably agree with the noble Baroness, but there we go.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, for tabling the amendment. It is certainly made with a good heart and spirit but it has to be resisted for very good reasons, practicality and cost being two of them. It has provided the opportunity for a debate on A8 migration. The noble Baroness and noble Lords said that there is clearly a positive benefit to the United Kingdom economy from the fact that we have workers coming to the United Kingdom from the A8 group—and, more recently, Bulgaria and Romania—to restricted areas of work. They support public services and they make a very important contribution to the economy, whether through plumbing or polemics; they work very hard. I think that we even come across them in the Palace of Westminster—right here in the heart of government.

As with all persons arriving from overseas, it is important to ensure that those arriving from the A8 start a life in the UK understanding their rights and responsibilities. We provide information on our websites in English and all the A8 languages. I have copies of leaflets that the Home Office produced for Poles, Lithuanians, Estonians, Latvians, Slovenians, Slovakians, Hungarians and Czechs. This document, which is called Living and Working in the UK, sets out rights and responsibilities of nationals from the new member states from 1 May 2004. That is on the website in all A8 languages. It runs through the range of issues that the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Llandudno, referred to. That information is available in countries that were A8 accession countries. We produced for 1 January this year another document called Living and Working in the UK: Rights and Responsibilities of Nationals from Bulgaria and Romania from 1 January 2007. It has lots of information in it; it is very useful—it takes the reader through a “Q&A” approach. It is also available on the website in the appropriate language. We have undertaken a lot of work in that regard.

We also work overseas through the Foreign Office and with our EU partners to provide extensive guidance to prospective migrants. In addition, the Commission provides information on rights of movement to EU nationals and the EURES network provides details of job opportunities throughout the EU. We send to all persons obtaining a worker registration certificate—in excess of 600,000 persons since May 2004—an information pack providing them with advice on many of the issues presented in the clause.

We do not believe that it is appropriate to legislate in such a prescriptive manner for many of the reasons that the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, adduced, when this information is provided already not just to migrants from the A8 states but also to those from Bulgaria and Romania, who are subject to a different transitional regime, and any other migrant coming to the UK to work or study or on the basis of family reunification. They will all be the recipients of valuable information.

It is in all our interests to ensure that those living here understand not just their rights but their obligations. However, the amendment does not provide that; it merely imposes what one might best describe as a bureaucratic burden. It is right that we have a degree of diversity in provisional advice and it is good that the NGOs and the voluntary sector play a part in that. In some instances, advice may well come easier from the independent sector than from the state. People may well find it easier to accept independent advice.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, discussed grants to local authorities. I am sure that we make other funding available to authorities that are affected directly in the way in which Westminster clearly is because of Victoria coach station. It is likely that because of the location of the coach station and the fact that it provides a cheap route for travel to the UK, Westminster receives a disproportionate number of A8 nationals. I am happy to try to provide for the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, who I know likes information, more background detail if I can on the support that is generally given to local authorities in this area.

I apologise for going on at some length on this. It is important that the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, and others understand our commitment in this field and that we are already working very hard in that regard. The noble Lord, Lord Dholakia, made some interesting points about planned migration and he mentioned Australia. Australia and the United States wanted very much over a long period to attract migrant workers; that was a declared instrument of public policy. We have done that from time to time in the UK. It may be the case that we have not always been perfect in every regard but our processes and procedures are in balance now; we make every effort, particularly working in partnership across Europe, to ensure that people have a greater understanding not just of the language in the UK but also of their rights and responsibilities. We should all pay careful attention to that.

I do not understand why the noble Lord is disappointed when I have already told him that we are doing precisely what he is asking for in the amendment.

I do not think the Minister is doing it; he is relying on voluntary organisations and so on to disseminate this information. He referred to cost, but there is hardly any cost in comparison with the massive bills we have to meet when people are not given information and are not told where they can go to find help and assistance.

I know how invaluable the CAB is in my own area, but they are not located at ports of entry. Would there be any difficulty whatever in the Government producing a leaflet and distributing it to people as they arrive in the UK at coach stations and so on? Could not the Government produce a leaflet of perhaps 16 or 20 pages, in each language, informing people of where they can find help if they get into trouble? It would cost little.

The noble Baroness has attacked the Liberal Democrats, and she seems to think that the Government should pay for everything. Is that the new Conservative policy?

I hope I made the point throughout my contribution that I did not wish the Government to provide everything. I was making a strong case for diversity—I repeated that—and I do not wish to have prescription, let alone saying that there should be 16 to 20 pages of it. We are all looking for the right principles of information being provided to the right standard, but I hope we are not going to be prescriptive. Certainly on these Benches we do not wish for that.

Following the Conservative ethic of enterprise, the leaflets could carry advertisements. Advertisers who are able to meet the needs of some of these people might even pay for them. The Liberal Democrats would be happy if they made a profit out of advertising, but there are there are other methods of doing it. This Bill provides us with an opportunity to prevent people from these countries sliding into destitution by giving them information about where to go for accommodation, for food vouchers, for a shower and for a job. It could be done.

I called the other day at The Passage, the voluntary organisation that does so much for homeless people and rough sleepers. It has already produced some information, but it would be more useful on a nationwide basis. I look forward to speaking on this issue again when we come to the Report stage. With great reluctance, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

70B: Before Clause 56, insert the following new Clause—

““Points-based” applications: remit of Independent Monitor

In section 23(1) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (c. 33) after “cases” insert “decided according to the “Points-based System” or”.”

The noble Lord said: The powers of the independent monitor for entry clearance refusals are defined in Section 23(1) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, as amended, as being,

“to monitor … refusals of entry clearance … where there is, as a result of section 90 or 91 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, no right of appeal”.

Section 4 of the IAN Act 2006 inserted a new Section 88A in the 2002 Act, ending certain appeals against refusal of applications for entry clearance under the points-based system. It follows that refusals under the points-based system that come under Section 88A would not be subject to scrutiny by the independent monitor. As I believe that was not the intention, I hope the Minister will accept the spirit of this amendment.

I must confess that it was very late on Friday afternoon when I obtained confirmation of my analysis of the effect of Section 4 of the 2006 Act from an authoritative source, so the drafting of the amendment was hasty.

It might be more elegant to insert “or 88A” after “91” in Section 4, but at this stage the essential is to agree that the independent monitor is intended to exercise her function over refusals under the points-based system and for the Minister to undertake to produce the best form of words to achieve that objective before Report. I beg to move.

The entry clearance monitor plays a valuable role in monitoring the quality of entry clearance refusals where there is no full right of appeal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. The Government therefore agree that it is important that she be able to look at refusals under the points-based system. However, the amendment is not necessary in order to achieve that aim, because the law will already require the monitor to look at points-based refusals.

Section 23(1) of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1999 will be amended by Section 4(2) of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 when the latter section is brought into force on the commencement of the points-based system. The law will then require the entry clearance monitor to look at refusals of entry clearance in all cases where, as a result of Section 88A of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, the decision does not attract a full right of appeal.

As each tier of the points-based system comes into operation, the Government will commence Section 4(1) of the 2006 Act in respect of that tier, meaning that entry clearance decisions made under it will not attract a full right of appeal. Because of Section 4(2) of the 2006 Act, that means that the monitor’s jurisdiction will automatically expand to cover each part of the new system as it is launched. The noble Lord’s amendment is unnecessary and I hope he will feel able to withdraw it.

Section 88A states:

“A person may not appeal … against refusal of an application for entry clearance unless the application was”

of a certain class; that is,

“visiting a person of a class or description prescribed by regulations for the purpose of this subsection, or … entering as the dependant of a person in circumstances prescribed”.

With respect, the Minister is wrong. When the provision comes into effect, the entry clearance monitor will still be debarred from considering certain refusals under the points-based system. Experts have looked at that very closely and that is their opinion.

The best thing I can suggest to resolve this is that the Minister’s officials could enter into direct conversations with the entry clearance monitor. Provided that the monitor agrees that she has those powers and that that can be put on the record, we will be satisfied. Otherwise, we may need to come back to this question on Report. Would the Minister like to add something to what he has already said?

The noble Lord could be right, but I suspect that perhaps he is not. This is something we can clear up over the summer. No doubt we can exchange correspondence and I can reply to the point at the Report stage—or both. We think that we have covered all the bases on this, but the noble Lord clearly disagrees. It is not something I can resolve today, but if the noble Lord withdraws his amendment, I shall be happy to make one final check on the position.

I have great pleasure in accepting what the noble Lord has said and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses 56 and 57 agreed to.

71: After Clause 57, insert the following new Clause—

“Consolidation

For paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971 (c. 77) substitute—

“1 (1) Immigration officers for the purposes of this Act shall be appointed by the Secretary of State, and he may arrange with the Commissioners of Customs and Excise for the employment of officers of customs and excise as immigration officers under this Act.

(2) Medical inspectors for the purposes of this Act may be appointed by the Secretary of State or, in Northern Ireland, by the Minister of Health and Social Services or other appropriate Minister of the Government of Northern Ireland in pursuance of arrangements made between that Minister and the Secretary of State, and shall be fully qualified medical practitioners.

(3) The Secretary of State may direct that his function of appointing medical inspectors under sub-paragraph (2) is also to be exercisable by such persons specified in the direction who exercise functions relating to health in England or Wales.

(4) In the exercise of their functions under this Act immigration officers shall act in accordance with such instructions (not inconsistent with the immigration rules) as may be given them by the Secretary of State, and medical inspectors shall act in accordance with such instructions as may be given them by the Secretary of State or, in Northern Ireland, as may be given in pursuance of the arrangements mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) above by the Minister making appointments of medical inspectors in Northern Ireland.

(5) An immigration officer or medical inspector may board any ship or aircraft for the purpose of exercising his functions under this Act.

(6) An immigration officer, for the purpose of satisfying himself whether there are persons he may wish to examine under paragraph 2 below, may search any ship or aircraft and anything on board it, or any vehicle taken off a ship or aircraft in which it has been brought to the United Kingdom.”.”

The noble Lord said: In the debate on the Queen’s Speech at the beginning of this Session, I regretted that there had been no progress on consolidation of immigration and asylum legislation. That was four years after we first raised the matter and despite the assurance we had been given by the noble Baroness, Lady Ashton of Upholland, in January of last year when she said that we would see whether it could be taken forward with the Law Commission. No doubt the noble Baroness has more influence now as the Leader of the House and as a member of the Cabinet to move these issues on, and as the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, said at the Second Reading of this Bill:

“We await with bated breath the publication of the consolidation Bill next year”.—[Official Report, 13/6/07; col. 1712.]

In spite of the fact that consolidation was raised by the noble Baroness, her noble friend Lord Henley, my noble friend Lord Dholakia and myself during that debate, the Minister who replied, the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Scotland, had nothing further to say on the subject in her wind-up. All we have to go on is a half-promise of a consolidation measure in the next Queen’s Speech. But yet another Bill amending the law on immigration is coming down the track, which clearly is not going to get through all its stages in the current Session. Will it continue in parallel with the consolidation measure, and will that measure incorporate the immigration clauses of the Criminal Law and Immigration Bill?

What this amendment does is to consolidate only part of Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971. We decided not to propose to consolidate the whole schedule so as not to waste paper on an exercise that is doomed to failure, but, as we have shown previously, is easily done. To complete the task, one would have to amend the references in other legislation, but even that is manageable because all the public legislation since 1988 is available in electronic form, and therefore is readily searchable. In any case, the references to every amendment since 1971 are given in the Immigration Law Handbook by Margaret Phelan and James Gillespie. So far as I know, their meticulous work has always been relied on by officials, legal practitioners, immigration judges and members of the public without the discovery of any errors.

I suppose it may be argued that the regular publication of the handbook after every new Act comes into force diminishes the need for consolidation, because at least the whole of the primary and secondary legislation is brought together in one volume—all 1,232 pages of it. It is still necessary to look in several different places to make sure that one understands what the law actually does, as we saw on the last amendment. But the people who are immediately affected by these many hundreds of pages—asylum seekers, elderly dependent relatives coming to join their families in the UK, or one of the three varieties of foreign criminal as described in three different Acts, as we discussed on the last occasion—have no access to Phelan, which now costs £100, and I suspect that not all their advisers do either. It would be interesting to know, for example, whether copies are available in all the immigration removal centres.

What we are proposing here is intended to prod the Government towards a commitment on consolidation and to make a more general point for the future. Since major consolidation of the law on immigration, asylum and nationality is only to be expected every 40 years, judging from our current experience, there ought to be a mechanism for partial consolidation on the lines of this amendment. We have a Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills, to which the question could be referred of whether it would be expedient to depart from the principle that all consolidation should be dealt with in Bills for that purpose only, enacting only new proposals recommended by the Law Commission or including corrections and minor improvements to existing law. The rule that in practice we separate consolidation entirely from new legislation may not be necessary, and in any case should be reviewed by that committee. I beg to move.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, for raising this matter. It is important that we hear from the Minister before the end of Committee stage what the Government’s position is on consolidation. The noble Lord is right: I raised the matter at Second Reading and asked questions about when such a measure would be forthcoming, but answer came there none. We know that the Government have put out a simplification consultation paper—or, at least, the consultation paper is called “simplification”.

In discussing this matter with my noble friend Lord Cope, I noted, like the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, that the Government’s so-called Queen’s Speech did not appear to refer to the consolidation Bill that had been promised for 2008. It is important that we know the status of that. My noble friend Lord Cope took the opportunity to give me a little tutorship about what comprises a consolidation Bill, as opposed to a new Bill. He set me on the right course, but I have a lot to learn on that. The way the Government have issued their simplification consultation makes it look as though the forthcoming Bill would not technically be a consolidation Bill. It would be helpful to know the Government’s position.

I always feel worried when I am confronted by a very reasonable question because I am not always sure I can deliver a reasoned or reasonable answer, but I will try.

It can be confusing to have many different pieces of immigration legislation. I agree with the point that consolidation as an exercise is best dealt with comprehensively and not piecemeal. Even within the proposed amendment, no account is taken of the establishment of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, which one could fairly argue ought to come within the parameters of consolidation.

As Members are aware and the noble Baroness has referred to, we are planning a simplification Bill for a future Session that will seek to simplify and consolidate all immigration legislation, and we are considering making changes to the legislation concerning the appointment of medical inspectors in that simplification Bill.

I think it will be a new Bill but it will involve consolidation and simplification.

Let me turn my mind back to the issues raised by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. He asked whether the immigration Bill in the next Session would be consolidated in due course. I hope I am right in assuming that that is a reference to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. The noble Lord nods his assent. We will look carefully at whether the immigration proposals in that Bill should be brought into the range of the simplification Bill that is proposed. As I understand it, it is our intention to produce a draft simplification Bill in 2008, following consultation. There will have to be a timetable for that but I cannot give the precise details. It would be wrong to predict; consultation can throw up difficulties and problems which may mean that the timetable has to be extended. It is right that the question was asked and perhaps later in the year I will be able to give some more details. Although I do not give an absolute undertaking to do so, it would not be unreasonable for me to try to achieve that. I will try to keep noble Lords advised of where we are in the process of simplification; that is as far as I can go today.

I do not think that we can take this matter very much further at this late stage. We welcome the consultation on simplification and consolidation that the noble Lord mentioned. We would like to be involved in that. Certainly, I should be grateful if I could be included in the list of persons to be consulted on the consolidation measure.

I am most grateful. On the criminal justice and immigration measure that is coming down the track, which the noble Lord said he was not sure would be included, there are precedents for consolidation of legislation which is in progress at the time of the consolidation measure. Therefore, I very much hope that when we start out with the new consolidation measure we will not be faced with a remaining Act that not been consolidated. I am grateful for what the noble Lord said. Meanwhile, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 58 agreed to.

Clause 59 [Extent]:

On Question, Whether Clause 59 shall stand part of the Bill?

My noble friend Lady Carnegy and I have given notice that we wish to oppose the Question whether Clause 59 shall stand part of the Bill because of the effect that it is designed to create.

The Government have still not provided a full and sufficient explanation about how securely the devolved arrangement in the clause will deliver the full level of control they wish from this legislation.

I question one aspect of the noble Lord’s response in our first day in Committee. At col. GC 58 he suggested that we should bring in a regulation such as this and that it might require a review in six months’ time. Is that really an adequate way forward?

My noble friend Lady Anelay drew attention in the debate on Clause 1 to the similarities of the powers in the Bill to those under Section 24A of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, as amended by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. That was a police Bill subsequent to devolution and the measure did not apply to Scotland. Today we are not dealing with a police Bill but with an immigration service Bill, so the question before the Government has to be: what areas of this matter are dependent on the devolved administration? Is the Government’s concern that if these new powers are given to immigration officers in Scotland, there will be a clash of authority, as they will duplicate those of the Scottish police? Will they do so? Surely, the fact that the powers will be exercisable only for three hours—a point that my noble friend Lady Carnegy earlier drew to the attention of the Committee—must mean that any problem would not be too difficult to overcome.

At col. GC 47, on the first day in Committee, the Minister takes some comfort in the fact that there are only seven international ports in Scotland. He states that for England and Wales he expects these powers to be of particular use when an immigration officer has to work without the presence of a policeman. Because of the type of arrangement presently envisaged in the Bill, in Scotland, with its sparse population and vast coastline, it must be a concern to us all that an immigration officer must always expect to have a policeman with the relevant powers standing at his elbow or only be able to act in his full official role when there is a policeman standing nearby. Any such requirement could constitute a vast waste of resources, apart from anything else.

How can the Government be sure that there will be no occasions in Scotland when an immigration officer will wish to act and there are no policemen present? Devolution has a very strange meaning if the Scottish police are unable to offer assistance to United Kingdom government officials acting on non-devolved matters without enabling legislation in the Scottish Parliament. The whole gamut of asylum, immigration and the capacity of persons in the United Kingdom who are not British citizens is a reserved matter under Section B6 of Schedule 5. How can the Government exercise these powers in Scotland if they do not have the total co-operation of the police?

Will the Minister tell the Committee whether the problem is seen as being similar to that posed by rail transport security, a matter raised when the Scotland Act was under scrutiny in your Lordships’ House? It was then recognised that the rail transport security body would have to operate on both sides of the Border and that rail transport security had to be listed as a reserved matter. Surely it would seem a little excessive for the legislation to require an amendment to the Scotland Act for Westminster to allocate powers to the Immigration Service north of the border.

I note with interest how on several occasions, especially at column GC 45, the Minister stressed the importance of inter-operability among the several agencies at border control centres; that they should work together well and understand each other's different roles; and that there should be some common core of training at the heart of it all. Does the exception of Scotland from the new powers mean that immigration officers in Scotland will have to be separately trained and always remain Scottish immigration officers, or will that element have to form a part of all officers’ training? Do any additional costs arise from that difference?

The final point that makes me question the purpose of Clause 59(1) is whether the arrangements can be held to be fully compatible with the Act of Union. I should like to hear the Government's views on that. That is no minor consideration, as I understand that the Bill cannot become law if it is held in any way to be incompatible with that Act and the treaty that preceded it. A major concern of the Act of Union is orders and the allowances and encouragements available in that connection. As the noble Lord will be aware, Article IV states:

“All subjects of the United Kingdom ... shall ... from and after the Union, have full freedom and intercourse of trade and navigation, to and from any port or place within the said United Kingdom ... and that there be a communication of all other rights, privileges, and advantages which do or may belong to the subjects of either kingdom, except where it is otherwise expressly agreed in these articles”.

Perhaps facetiously, I ask: does that not apply to immigration officers? That leads one to believe that that amounts to a full equality provision, in particular with regard to the borders of the United Kingdom, and that regulations at the borders should be the same wherever they occur in the United Kingdom.

Article VI treats with all parts of the United Kingdom having the same “allowances, encouragements and drawbacks”. That may not be seen to be relevant to immigration as they are most likely to be taken as regarding duties and tariffs, but it might be a consideration nonetheless.

Our task here is to look into the possible ramifications of the legislation. These areas need due consideration and the Government need to think hard about their proposal that Scotland should be excepted from Clauses 1 to 4 under Clause 59(1). Will the Minister consider returning to this when we gather at Report?

I should like to back up my noble friend because this matter is somewhat more important than the Minister seems to think. I raised it—I admit, somewhat off the cuff—on the first day of Committee at column GC 44 on 2 July. The Minister told us that the reason for exempting Scotland from Clauses 1 to 4, concerning special immigration officers, is that they are not needed in Scotland because police are normally present at all seven Scottish ports of entry. “Routinely present” was the term used. I do not know which those seven ports of entry are supposed to be, but there are a great many places in Scotland where people can arrive from and leave to go abroad—far more than seven.

My noble friend has pointed out that drugs, immigration, security and terrorism—

I must interrupt the noble Baroness because there is a Division in the House. The Committee stands adjourned for 10 minutes. We will then reconvene.

[The Sitting was suspended for a Division in the House from 5.24 to 5.33 pm.]

I think I was saying that drugs, immigration, security and terrorism are reserved matters, but there is a close inter-relationship between the subject matter of the Bill and the police, who are devolved to Scotland. Given that, not only do we have the right to discuss this matter, but the Westminster Parliament—no doubt with the agreement of the Scottish Executive—will decide on it. It is therefore appropriate to discuss the issue under this Bill.

It has been argued that while the police routinely maintain a presence at Scottish airports, that is not necessarily the case in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, that does not seem to hold up. Only last Thursday I landed at Dundee airport, which is not a place where there are normally immigration officers, and there were seven jet aeroplanes on the tarmac. I think most of them had landed from abroad because of the Open golf championship. I have no doubt that immigration officers came to Dundee on that occasion. I wonder about the heliport at Salen on the Isle of Mull; people could arrive there. I have a relative who flies there constantly, although not from abroad. However, I am sure people arrive from abroad sometimes. So it is not true to say that there are only seven ports of entry.

The assumption that the situation is different in Scotland is artificial. Surely there are situations in Scotland similar to those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland where the police, for whatever reason, are not present at a given moment when an immigration officer requires their presence. A noble Lord told me today that he flies frequently to Glasgow airport with sporting shotguns. There is a by-law in Glasgow that if shotguns arrive they have to be checked by the police, and he often has to wait 20 minutes for a policeman to be found. Immigration officers are probably not present where he arrives, but there is a shortage of police. They have many things to do in a big airport and they are not necessarily always there when the moment arrives. So where it takes time for the police to appear, it would be very convenient if the immigration officer could perform some tasks instead, which is what the Bill would allow.

There was a report in the press that people are entering the United Kingdom via Orkney and Shetland from the Faroe Islands. I do not know what the situation is in Orkney or Shetland when that happens, but there is anxiety within the Scottish Executive about that fact.

There was also a report, which has never been denied, that when the suicide attempt was made at the entrance to Glasgow airport there were no armed police present even though it was a time of high security. That is not directly relevant to the Bill, but it shows that police arrangements can go awry. It is unwise to say that Scotland could never have a situation where we would be greatly helped if immigration officers could do the job that we require the police to do at the moment.

If we have these fail-safe arrangements for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there is little point in having no fail-safe arrangements protecting Scotland. As a Scot, I would greatly regret it if the Scots Parliament does not see that. I do not know whether it wants to legislate on this, but it would be so much easier if it simply, by way of a Sewell Motion before Report stage, made Clauses 1 and 4 applicable to Scotland. My noble friend raised the interesting point of whether the Scottish Executive stance is illegal. Although I did not read it all, the extract from the Act of Union might well be something for the Advocate-General or the Lord Advocate to look at in order to make sure that we are not doing ourselves out of a protection given to us in Scotland by the Act of Union so many years ago.

This is a serious point. In view of the Prime Minister’s Statement that biometric checks will be made on everyone coming into the country, an immigration officer in Scotland may be worried that a certain person should not be there or is not telling the truth. He wants to hold them for up to three hours until he can get hold of a policeman. That could easily happen and I hope that the Government will go back to Mr Salmond to see if he will change his mind. He has said that he is keen to co-operate with the Westminster Government on matters affecting the security of the people of Scotland. The Government could enforce it if the Westminster Parliament insists, but no doubt they would not want to do that. Mr Salmond is trying to be as statesmanlike as possible in his dealings with the rest of the United Kingdom. I am sure that he will respond to this.

Since nearly the whole Bill extends to Northern Ireland, I would like to say something about that jurisdiction. Earlier today there was an informal meeting in Parliament with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and several noble Lords whose full-time homes are in Northern Ireland. They made the following observation. No checks of any kind, let alone biometric checks, are made at the land crossings between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Given that we have a common travel area with the Republic of Ireland, I hope that the Home Office will look at this. In light of the Statement that has been mentioned, perhaps it will consider this issue from a security point of view. The border could provide a loophole for non-EU nationals to enter the United Kingdom, particularly given the length of the coastline not only in Northern Ireland, but also in the Republic.

I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, that this is a serious matter which concerns not only Clauses 1 to 4, but also Clause 30(1) and (2), which deal with people trafficking. It all depends on when these clauses come into operation. If there were to be a delay, the situation would remain the same in Scotland as it is now in England and Wales, and there would be plenty of time to consider whether legislation should be introduced in the Scottish Parliament to parallel these powers.

I understand that the Labour Party gave an undertaking that if it had been re-elected in Scotland it would have introduced legislation in the Scottish Parliament to parallel these provisions. It was always Labour’s intention that it should apply them north of the Border, but the SNP has not, as I understand it, declared whether it intends to maintain that policy. I tried to speak to Mr Stewart Hosie, the SNP home affairs spokesman at the other end of the Corridor, but I was unable to get hold of him before we came into the Grand Committee. The simple way of approaching this would be for the Government and the SNP to get together and decide how they are going to deal with this, whether or not the SNP considers it necessary to have such powers or whether it thinks that the situation is satisfactory as it stands.

However, I would suggest that there could be a problem in the end because people seeking to evade our immigration laws may well see the Scottish ports of entry as easier targets if Clauses 1 to 4 are not extended to Scotland. Indeed, I shall take up the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, by quoting the warning given on two separate occasions by my honourable friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland about a route to Scotland via the Faroe Islands. He first raised it in a Written Question on 14 June, and was told by the Minister, Mr Liam Byrne, that there was no evidence to show that the route was being abused.

In an intervention on 9 July my honourable friend referred the Minister to a report in the Scotsman published at the beginning of June about two groups of men who were arrested for entering the country illegally. They told the immigration authorities that they had done so by travelling to Denmark, then on to the Faroe Islands, and from there to Shetland. The Minister said that he would look into the matter, but this morning my honourable friend told me that he has not heard anything further. That is surprising, given that the BIA told the Aberdeen Press and Journal as long ago as 5 June that it was monitoring the situation and that by 11 June it had been made aware of the potential route to the far north following the arrests in Aberdeen. It would be useful if the Minister could tell us something about the investigation being conducted by the BIA and when it is likely to be concluded, because we need to know before we dispense with this proposal.

Whether this new threat would be effectively countered by extending the powers of the Bill to Scotland is not obvious. My honourable friend tells me that there is a massive amount of cruise traffic into Orkney and Shetland, but only one immigration officer and two customs officers for the whole of his constituency. That is an obvious risk. Further, my honourable friend reminded me only this morning that the Scottish Affairs Committee in another place warned some time ago that an intelligence-based approach to immigration and customs, which seems to have been adopted in Scotland, is inadequate on its own. It has clearly failed in this instance and we need to know whether the inquiries being made by Mr Byrne will address the wider question of immigration and customs officer staffing levels in Scotland.

I am grateful to the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, and the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour. I always listen carefully to what they have to say on these issues because I know that they speak with great wisdom and experience, as well as a deep knowledge of the interaction between Scottish and English law and legislation and an understanding of the working of the Scottish legal system. Today we have heard introduced to our discussions the Act of Union, so I am dealing with people who know what they are on about, and I respect them for that.

I am sure that the noble Duke and the noble Baroness would agree that most of the provisions are reserved and therefore apply to the whole of the United Kingdom. There are just three provisions that do not extend to Scotland, as noble Lords have not been remiss in pointing out. While immigration is a reserved matter, the powers set out in Clauses 1 to 4 will be used by designated immigration officers at ports to support the police to tackle criminality. In broad terms, police powers are a devolved matter and the view has been taken that the activity of immigration officers is also a devolved matter.

An alternative approach has been identified for Scotland, which reflects the level of international passenger traffic and the arrangements for policing in Scotland, whereby police officers will attend and deal with those identified as liable for arrest. There will be no compromise in border security as a result of this alternative approach.

It is only right that I should put on record that we are working very closely with the Scottish Executive and, in particular, with ACPO Scotland via the border management programme to agree a suitable framework; so we are in regular consultation and liaison with them over these issues.

The provision to allow for the forfeiture of detained property is another area in addition to detention at ports that does not apply to the whole of the United Kingdom. I would like to reassure noble Lords that there is no need to legislate for this provision in Scotland as current Scottish legislation, under Section 21 of the Proceeds of Crime (Scotland) Act 1995, provides that property can be forfeited to the Crown.

I respect what the noble Baroness says. I am trying to set out the whole picture.

The issue of people-trafficking has been raised. Clause 30(1) and (2), which amend the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004, relate to matters devolved to Scotland. That is because Section 4 of the 2004 Act, in so far as it created a new criminal offence of trafficking people for non-sexual exploitation, extends beyond immigration purposes and relates to the prevention of more general criminal offences which are devolved matters in respect of Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament, via a Sewel Motion and Memorandum in 2004, endorsed the principle of creating this new offence to combat trafficking in human beings and agreed to the consideration of these provisions by the UK Parliament. Any amendment to Section 4 would require a further Legislative Consent Motion and Memorandum, as we now describe it.

It was not possible prior to the introduction of the Bill, owing to the then imminent dissolution of the Scottish Parliament, to obtain a further Legislative Consent Motion and Memorandum. Therefore, the provisions of Clause 30(1) and (2) do not extend to Scotland, but, I return to the point, noble Lords should be assured that the Government and the Scottish Executive are united in their condemnation of individuals who seek to benefit from the exploitation of vulnerable persons through manipulative, coercive and violent means.

The Scottish Executive and the Home Office worked together closely on the development of the UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking, which was published in March. The Scottish Executive is currently considering whether amendments should be made to the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004 offence as it applies in Scots law, and to similar offences such as Section 22 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 and Sections 9 to 12 of the Protection of Children and Prevention of Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2005.

I reassure noble Lords that it will continue to be an offence under the law of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to facilitate the arrival or entry of an individual into Scotland, as part of the UK, for the purposes of exploitation within the UK. The restrictions on the extent of Clause 30 that I have discussed apply only to the application of the offence in Scottish law.

I understand what the noble Duke and the noble Baroness are saying with regard to powers in the Bill and the relationship to functions of ports. What needs to be understood is that the approach adopted in Scotland, while different is, as far as ACPO and the police services in Scotland are concerned, workable. I have heard what has been said about the delay sometimes in police officers being present at one of the seven ports where immigration controls are in effect. But they believe that arrangements are effective and work well. They do not feel that they need to change the position, but, if the Scottish Executive took the view that arrangements were not as ideal as they believed, it would be free to legislate. However, the police are there to work in support of the Immigration Service. There is a good level of understanding between those two services; they are becoming much more integrated in the way they operate. That is the position that the Scottish Executive is happy with.

Comment has been made in this debate about the position of Alex Salmond. I have little doubt that he wants to co-operate in this field because it would be in no one’s interest, including the Scottish Executive’s, to see any failure in protecting borders, securing places of entry and preventing acts of terrorism, major crime and so on at ports and airports. The recent experience at Glasgow has probably sharpened people’s thinking, and I know from my contact with officials here that there is a heightened sense of awareness of all those issues, but the Scottish Executive is happy with the current position. I understand the motive behind the amendment, but I offer these assurances and I hope that they can be accepted. That is something we need to keep carefully under review, and I am sure that we will.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, made reference to the Faroe Isles. My understanding is that the situation is being properly investigated. I do not have any details I can provide about the outcome of those investigations, but I undertake to write to noble Lords to advise and update them if I possibly can, and I shall be more than happy to do so.

With regard to small ports, all international arrivals are required to notify passengers to the Home Office and the BIA itself. Those notifications are risk-assessed and screening is undertaken against watch lists. Immigration officers will be deployed if they are required. In Shetland, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is responsible for clearing international passengers; that falls into its area of activity. If it needs to call on other services it will do so on an as-and-when-required basis.

That is the position. I am grateful to noble Lords who contributed to the debate because I well understand the points of concern. Finally, on the issue of the Act of Union, we are entirely happy that everything we do is compatible with that, and we have not been advised of any difficulties that have been created through the description and setting out the legislation in the way we have. I am grateful to the noble Duke for having drawn that to our attention.

Before the Minister sits down, would he deal, as he promised, with the point raised by my honourable friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland, as reported in the Scotsman on Monday, that there are only two Customs officers and one immigration officer in the whole of Orkney and Shetland, and that that is an inadequate number of personnel to deal with the massive cruise traffic arriving in the islands? That relates to the point made by the Scottish Affairs Committee in another place, which said that the intelligence-led approach to immigration in Scotland was not adequate by itself and personnel on the ground are needed to be sure, particularly in the case of Orkney and Shetland, that people-trafficking, which has been the subject of reports in the Scotsman, is properly tackled.

I agree that these things need to be properly tackled. It is understandable why a risk-based approach is adopted. You do not want to deploy disproportionate resources where those resources could be best used somewhere else to tackle another aspect of the same problem. I undertake to ensure that in the note that is sent to Members of the Committee, the fruits of the review we are carrying out are revealed, and that that information is shared with all those who have an interest in this issue. That seems only right and proper. As I understand it, arrangements are in place to deal with the very situation that the noble Lord has drawn to the Committee’s attention in regard to cruise visits and so on. We need to monitor the situation and keep it under review. We do not want there to be a weakness in the work that we undertake to combat trafficking. We treat it as a priority and it has risen up the political agenda in the past couple of years. Members of the Committee well know of the Government’s commitment to tackle people-trafficking, because of the appalling nature of the crime.

I also asked whether the Minister envisaged separate training because of the different circumstances in Scotland and England. Will there be some extra cost due to that element?

My understanding—I think I have made some reference to this in the past—is that immigration officers’ training has to be standard because it is a uniform national service; it is not a devolved issue.

The powers of the immigration officers will be different depending on whether they are in Scotland or England, so they will have to be aware of this.

I do not think the powers will be different but the relationship with the police service will be of a different nature. That is what we were discussing earlier. I have no doubt that that can be built in as a component to the training and that immigration officers will be very aware of the issue.

This has been very interesting. Until the Minister gave his explanation, I could not picture properly the scene that would emerge in the different parts of the United Kingdom when a suspicious person arrived. I think the Minister was saying that the risk-based approach is that when someone wishes to arrive from abroad they have to give notification that they are coming; the Home Office then looks them up to see if they are all right and then informs the port where they are to arrive. Is that, roughly speaking, what happens?

With private aircraft, advance notification must be given along with identification of who is coming in. Checks are then undertaken on the watch list. That is part of the risk-based assessment approach.

The risk-based approach could not work when applied to a liner arriving at Orkney, Shetland, Leith in Edinburgh or perhaps at Glasgow in the Clyde. There could be a terrorist on board who had managed to get a place on the ship.

The immigration officers may be in great trouble if at one of these ports, small or large—perhaps at the heliport on the Isle of Mull—they come upon someone who looks suspicious and needs to be kept until a policeman can be found. I do not know how many police there are on the Isle of Mull but I am sure they do not all live at Salen where the heliport is. That person will have to be held and the Bill will enable the immigration officer to hold them until the police can arrive and do the necessary. The more the Minister describes the arrangements, the less adequate they seem in Scotland at the moment.

The protection of the United Kingdom may well depend on the protection of the Scottish coastline; there is no question about that. I know Mr Salmond cannot get anything to happen in the Scots Parliament without other parties helping him but, judging by the view of the noble Lord on the Liberal Benches, he would not be short of help. He certainly would not be short of help from my party if he wanted to go ahead with this. I hope the Government will not just sit around and hope everything will go away. They must talk to Mr Salmond and try to get the Bill to apply to Scotland.

Perhaps I may offer this final reassurance. It is not in anyone’s interests to have porous borders. There is a national debate going on about this. We have had a Statement today that deals with it in part. We will have our agreements and disagreements about the effectiveness of the measures proposed, and I understand why that might be the case.

With regard to relations with the Scottish Executive, we have put our best endeavours up front to try to ensure that we work carefully on these issues. It is not in the Scottish Executive’s interests to have a weakening of our determination or resolve on this, and I have been impressed by the positive response from it following the recent outrage at Glasgow airport.

We are conscious of the problems that can arise in the more remote parts of the British Isles. We need to continue to be vigilant and to review how our Immigration Service works there with police and customs. That work is continuous, as it has to be. The noble Baroness said that she feels that is not as adequate as it might appear. I am prepared to set down a description of how operations are conducted in the more remote areas, because I can see the nature and scale of the problem. I have visited remote parts, not just of the United Kingdom but of other jurisdictions, and one appreciates that there is a difference and problems arise from time to time, although not continuously. I hope the Committee will accept my assurance that I undertake to try to provide a more detailed descriptive analysis of how those areas operate. That will advance not just my knowledge but that of all Members of the Committee.

I thank the Minister for so thoroughly going over all the aspects of the Bill as it applies to Scotland and for giving us so much of an explanation. We will have to read Hansard carefully to understand the interaction of the various Acts and to be fully satisfied on that.

I was a little surprised at the Minister’s attitude that the Bill shows how the Immigration Service can help the police. I thought it was much more to do with how the police could help the Immigration Service. We are not particularly worried about the clause that accepts the confiscation of property, because I can see that the Scottish legislation could well covert the confiscation of property. The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, is concerned whether what is in the Bill with regard to people trafficking is better, fairer and more reasonable than existing legislation. It will update the legislation in England, but it should coincide with what there is in Scotland. It is all very well for the Minister to say that the Scottish Parliament is free to legislate. It is free to do so as far as the actions of the police go, but surely it is not free to legislate for the Immigration Service. We will want to look over all the good arguments that the Minister has put forward and see where they fit.

Clause 59 agreed to.

Clause 60 agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments.

The Committee adjourned at 6.09 pm.