House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Nationality, Immigration And Asylum Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Part 7: Offences

235.     Clause 105 strengthens the offence of employing illegal entrants and is necessary to reduce the number of people residing unlawfully in the UK, to protect employees' rights and to protect legitimate businesses. The legislative changes will mirror current practice with respect to the documents that an employer must ask to see when hiring a new employee. A requirement to hold employee information in a particular form should have a minimal impact on employers, since they will not be required to gather new information, only to hold that information in a particular way.

236.     Clauses 109 and 110 introduce a power for the Immigration Service (IS) to enter business premises without warrant to search for and arrest immigration offenders, and to inspect and seize personnel records. The impact on business is not likely to be significant given that the Immigration Service is currently entering business premises with the compliance of employers. Any additional disruption to business will only affect those who refuse to co-operate with the Immigration Service.


237.     Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires the Minister in charge of a Bill in either House of Parliament to make a statement about the compatibility of the provision of the Bill with the Convention (as defined by section 1 of that Act). The statement has to be made before second reading. On 10th April 2002 the Secretary of State for the Home Department made the following statement:

In my view the provisions of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill are compatible with the Convention rights.

Part 2: Accommodation Centres

238.     Part 2 of the Bill contains provisions on accommodation centres for providing support to destitute asylum-seekers and their dependants, the regime at which will not amount to detention within the meaning of Article 5. It includes provisions allowing the Secretary of State to set out in secondary legislation conditions of residence, including a requirement to reside at an accommodation centre during certain hours. Breach of the residence conditions may lead to the person and his dependants being required to leave the accommodation centre. Although destitution alone will not lead to a breach of Article 3, the asylum-seeker and any dependants of his (if destitute) will remain able to apply again for accommodation in an accommodation centre and the Secretary of State will have a discretion to provide support either in an accommodation centre or under Part VI of the 1999 Act, where failure to provide support would lead to a breach of Article 3.

239.     The requirement for a person to reside in a particular accommodation centre may raise issues under Article 8; for example, because they cannot reside with or near other family members. Imposition of a requirement to reside at an accommodation centre as a condition of support in an accommodation centre will be done with careful consideration to human rights, in particular Article 8. But proportionate interference with Article 8 rights is, in the context of accommodation centres, likely to be considered necessary in the interests of the economic well being of the country, including managing the asylum support budget and operating an effective immigration control.

Part 4: Detention and Removal

240.     Part 4 of the Bill provides a power for the Secretary of State to link the provision of support with compliance with the conditions on which temporary admission or release has been granted. Termination of support would not itself necessarily lead to a breach of Convention rights but where a person as a consequence was at risk of treatment in breach of Article 3 support could be re-instated where a person agrees to comply with the conditions.

Part 6: Immigration Procedure

241.     Part 6 contains provision for the collection of data pertaining to physical characteristics. The collection, retention and use of data raise issues under article 8. The Government's view is that these powers are justifiable within Article 8.2 for the prevention of crime and disorder and for the maintenance of an effective immigration control, which is for the economic well-being of the country.

242.     Part 6 also contains provision for the disclosure of information to the Secretary of State by public authorities and other persons in specified circumstances. These provisions raise issues under Article 8 but they are limited powers, restricted to circumstances where there is reasonable suspicion that an offence is being committed, and are necessary for the economic well-being of the country and the prevention and detection of crime. The provisions are regarded as proportionate for the purposes for which they are introduced.

Part 7: Offences

243.     Part 7 of the Bill contains provisions on powers of search and entry. These powers raise issues under Article 8. The powers are necessary for the prevention of crime. There are a number of safeguards in relation to the use of the powers. In the Government's view, the powers are justifiable under Article 8.2.


244.     Clause 127 contains provisions relating to the coming into force of the Bill. Subsection (2) provides for the specified provisions to come into force on Royal Assent. The remaining provisions come into force on such dates as the Secretary of State appoints.

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Prepared: 12 April 2002