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Illegal Immigrants On Eurostar

Volume 623: debated on Tuesday 20 March 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Why they have imposed charges of £2,000 on rail freight operators in respect of illegal immigrants hidden on freight trains through the Channel Tunnel from 1 March, but have not imposed similar charges on Eurostar in respect of the nine illegal immigrants hidden under its passenger trains on 2 March. [HL1187]

The civil penalty provisions of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 were extended to the Channel Tunnel rail freight operation from 1 March 2001 in response to the rising numbers using this method to enter the United Kingdom illegally. The provisions are deisgned to ensure that those responsible for the rail freight operation take the necessary precautions to secure freight wagons against this abuse, which has become more widespread following the introduction of the civil penalty for road vehicles in April 2000.The civil penalty provisions do not apply to passenger trains using the Channel Tunnel and there was no power to impose a penalty in the case cited where the persons concerned were concealed in a compartment beneath a Eurostar train.