Letter to the Chairman of the Committee,
dated 21 February 2005, from Rt Hon Charles Clarke MP, Secretary
of State for the Home Department
Further to my appearance before your Committee
on 8 February I undertook to write to you with more details on
several questions that were raised and this information is provided
The following information has been provided
to me by the police. As you will appreciate I cannot comment in
detail on individual cases. However, a number of the cases listed
below are due to come to court over the next few months.
Police records show that from 11
September 2001 until 31 December 2004, 701 people were arrested
under the Terrorism Act 2000.
119 of these were charged under the
Act. Of these, 45 were also charged with offences under other
135 were charged under other legislation.
This includes charges for terrorist offences that are already
covered in general criminal law such as murder, grievous bodily
harm and use of firearms or explosives.
17 Individuals have been convicted
of offences under the Terrorism Act.
This information is provided on the Home Office
Information on the number of asylum applicants
removed from the UK in the final quarter of 2004 (and hence for
the whole of 2004) will be published on 22 February. This will
be available from the Research, Development and Statistics website
Between January and September 2004, inclusive,
11,315 asylum applicants (including their dependants) were removed
from the UK, compared with 13,615 between January and September
The new Civil Procedure Rules coming into force
on 4 April 2005 will mean that asylum appeal determinations will
be served on appellants by IND rather than by the Appellate Authority.
We expect to handle some 3,000 such determinations a month over
the next two years. Of these, we estimate that about 2,100 will
be subject to restrictions requiring them to report regularly
to the Immigration Service. By August 2005 we expect to serve
1,200 determinations every month at such reporting events, and
will increase that level progressively to 2,000 by April 2007.
We will also work to extend the scope of our reporting arrangements
in order to increase further the potential for service in person,
by increasing geographical coverage and reducing non-compliance
and linking this work to the separate work we are taking forward
on the New Asylum Model mentioned in the recently announced five-year
Strategy on Asylum and Immigration.
A much smaller proportion will be served by
visiting home addresses, where immediate enforced removal is considered
Determinations not served in person will be
posted by the Immigration and Nationality Department.
Because many failed asylum seekers will have
left the country without notifying the Home Office and because
embarkation controls were abolished in all major ports in 1998
there is no central record of departing passengers and, consequently,
no accurate management information exists on how many asylum seekers
who have been refused permission to remain in the UK are awaiting
removal. However, the E-borders programme which we are currently
developing will help to provide more accurate data.
Between January 1997, when the legislation came
into force, and April 2004, there were eight convictions for the
offence of employing an illegal worker under section 8 of the
Asylum and Immigration Act 1996. Since April 2004, there have
been nine convictions for this offence. These figures do not include
cases where charges for more serious criminal offences, such as
facilitation, forgery or money laundering have been pursued.
Lastly, you asked what progress has been made
on the introduction of language and knowledge tests for immigrants
who were intending to settle here. Regulations came into force
on 28 July last year specifying that all those applying for naturalisation
had to demonstrate knowledge of English to the standard of English
for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Entry 3. (Similar criteria
will apply for anyone seeking to qualify by virtue of knowledge
of Welsh or Scottish Gaelic). We are now working towards the next
stages of the process, which will be the introduction later this
year of the requirement that intending new citizens should demonstrate
knowledge of life in the United Kingdom. We will be making a further
announcement on this before long.
The Department of Education and Skills is working
with the Learning and Skills Council at national, regional and
local level, to improve the planning, delivery and quality of
ESOL provision with the aim of targeting it more effectively so
that priority needs can be better met.
Pilot programmes, in which people will learn
about life in the United Kingdom at the same time as they learn
English, are currently under way. These have been developed by
the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) in
conjunction with the London Language Literacy Unit and are intended
to enable a student to gain sufficient knowledge of the UK at
the same time as developing their knowledge of the English language.
The tests of knowledge of life in the United
Kingdom for intending citizens will be based on the information
contained in the handbook "Life in the United Kingdom: A
journey to Citizenship" which was published on 15 December
2004 on behalf of the Life in the United Kingdom Advisory Group,
an independent group chaired by Sir Bernard Crick.
We have set up an Advisory Board for Naturalisation
and Integration (ABNI) to help us with this work. Membership of
the Board has been drawn from leading experts in the fields of
English language testing, citizenship training, employment of
migrants and community development and integration. The ABNI is
an independent advisory board and will make recommendations on
the further development of integration policies and programmes.
Controlling Our Borders, the Government's
Five Year Strategy for asylum and immigration, which was published
on 7 February, made the further announcement that in future those
applying for permanent settlement in the United Kingdom, as well
as those applying for citizenship, would be expected to demonstrate
knowledge of English and of knowledge of life in the United Kingdom.
We look forward to working with the ABNI as we implement this
21 February 2005