Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill

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Mr. Allan: I am grateful to the Minister for those assurances. It would help if the regulations to implement the restrictions made clear the position of unaccompanied children. I am grateful to her for having placed on record her intention to ensure that the reporting restrictions are appropriate for unaccompanied children. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: No. 253, in page 28, line 15, leave out 'that section' and insert 'section 16'.—[Angela Eagle.]

Clause 51, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 52

Family

Mr. Malins: I beg to move amendment No. 227, in page 28, line 29, after 'family', insert—

    'in so far as to do so would be in accordance with Articles 1 to 40 of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child'.

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 274, in page 28, line 29, at end insert—

    '10B In section 10A, ''a member of the person's family'' shall not include a child born in the United Kingdom before 31st December 2002 to a person to whom removal directions have been given under paragraphs 810 of Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971.

    10C Where directions are given in respect of a person under any of paragraphs 810 of Schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971, directions to the same effect may not be given under paragraph 10A in respect of a member of that person's family if he is a child born in the United Kingdom, who had remained in the United Kingdom for five or more years since his birth.'.

Mr. Malins: This brief and probing amendment is

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based on the proposition that the decision to remove a dependent child under the provision should be taken according to principles and procedures that accord with international norms in the rest of Europe.

Mr. Allan: We support the amendment. Amendment No. 274 is designed to tease out the position of children born to parents who do not have leave to remain in the United Kingdom. The circumstances in which such children can be subject to the powers need clarification.

The formula that we propose in amendment No. 274 would have several effects. It would prevent the power from becoming retrospective and allow a period for advice to be given, as we believe that this will be a sensitive area. I hope that the Minister will clarify the general point about the UN convention on the rights of the child, which, as I suggested, we support, and the position of children who may be affected by the new power in the clause.

Ms Winterton: On amendment No. 227, when removal directions are given to an illegal entrant, overstayer or person who is in breach of their conditions, subsection (1) allows the IND to give directions to their UK-born children. The amendment would prevent the IND from giving such directions if they were contrary to the UN convention on the rights of the child. The amendment would undermine the UK's reservation to that convention. The purpose of that reservation is to make it clear that nothing in the convention is to be interpreted as conferring rights on children who do not have such rights under immigration law. Therefore, we cannot accept the amendment, but I hope that the hon. Member for Woking will recall previous debates in which we have said that consideration is always given to children in such difficult circumstances.

I turn to amendment No. 274. At present, there is no power in immigration law to remove a child born in the UK to parents who are illegal immigrants, or who are port applicants who have been granted temporary admission. The clause will streamline the arrangements for the removal of children born to illegal entrants, or to people who are present on temporary admission. However, the practice of removing such children is not new, and it is therefore unnecessary to protect against retrospective application. Moreover, it might be confusing if different powers could operate where a family has children born either side of the 31 December watershed.

We already take account of the length of time that a child has spent in the UK, when deciding whether to take enforcement action against a family group. In 1999, my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien) announced that enforcement action would not normally be appropriate where there are children who have been living in the UK continuously for seven or more years. That announcement represented a reduction from the previous figure of 10 years, and we are not persuaded that a further reduction is justified. If Opposition Members are seeking a complete ban on removal of children who were born here and have lived here for

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five years, the amendment would not achieve that, because there are cumbersome arrangements at present that could continue to operate. The clause merely streamlines them.

I hope that with those assurances will persuade the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Malins: In the circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 52 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 53

Deception

Mr. Allan: I beg to move amendment No. 275, in page 29, line 13, after 'uses', insert 'material'.

This is a threshold amendment—which is another familiar brand of amendment that we regularly come across in Committee. It is designed to ensure that the threshold is appropriate to the penalty that might be enforced. In this case, although we accept that deception may be a justifiable reason for removal, removal is a major step to take, so we seek to ensure that the threshold includes the word ''material'', so that material deception is referred to, rather than simple, bald deception.

I wish the Minister briefly to outline her view of the thresholds that will be applied in this deception provision, so that we can be assured that there will be a requirement for substantive evidence to be produced before such a drastic step as removal is enforced.

Ms Winterton: I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be reassured to know that we have looked at his point. However, we consider that the amendment is unnecessary, because it is implicit that the deception must be material. It is not specified that the deception must be material in the current power under section 10(b) of the 1999 Act, nor is that specified in the previous power in section 3(5)(aa) of the 1971 Act. The offence in section 24(a) of the 1971 Act also does not specify that, and neither does the definition of an illegal entrant in section 33(1) specify material deception.

We believe that to include the word in the clause might cast doubt on the interpretation of provisions where ''material'' is not specified, but we believe that it is implicit that the deception must be material.

I hope that that clarifies the matter for the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Allan: Following that helpful clarification, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 53 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 54

Exemption from deportation

Mr. Allan: I beg to move amendment No. 276, in page 29, line 18, leave out subsection (2).

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The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take Government amendment No. 254.

Mr. Allan: This is one of those matters about which legal advice has been put to us that contradicts that given to us by the Government. We want to know which advice is correct. The Government have said that section 7(1)(a) of the 1971 Act, which is referred to under subsection (2) of the clause, is redundant. The Immigration Advisory Service says that, to the best of its knowledge, the subsection is not entirely redundant and that it is representing several people for whom the distinction between the two formulations is of particular importance to their rights. I am not sufficiently qualified to know the details of such cases, but I wanted to raise the matter with the Minister so that she can be aware that lawyers are representing individuals who are contesting whether the provision is redundant.

Angela Eagle: The Government amendment deals with a technical issue that need not detain the Committee. It is a tidying-up provision and construes section 33(2) of the Immigration Act 1971 in a sensible way.

I am surprised by the hon. Gentleman's question, given that my legal advice was that the provision is redundant and that no one would have been protected by it. Section 7(1)(a) of the 1971 Act has been overtaken by time and anyone who had protection under that section is equally protected under section 7(1)(b). If worries remain about that advice, perhaps he and I can talk about it another time. I understand that the provision is redundant and our intention under the Bill is to repeal it. It will be repealed whether or not we accept the amendment, but in the circumstances we will not.

Mr. Allan: I am grateful to the Minister for her response. I am sure that those who are more familiar with such cases will be aware of our proceedings and will be in touch with the Minister to explain why they believe that the provision is not redundant. We are grateful to her for tabling Government amendment No. 254, which we support because we have serious worries about the subsection as it is worded. I am pleased that the Government are to withdraw it. I shall not press the amendment to a Division now, because there is some doubt about such matters.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: No. 254, in page 29, line 29, leave out subsection (5)—[Angela Eagle.]

Clause 54, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 55

Revocation of leave to enter or remain

Mr. Malins: I beg to move amendment No. 257, in page 29, line 34, leave out subsection (1).

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments: No. 228, in page 29, line 36, leave out from 'deportation' to end of line 38.

No. 226, in page 29, line 37, leave out 'for legal reasons'.

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No. 224, in page 29, line 38, leave out 'legal reasons' and insert 'any reason'.

 
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