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Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of letters to his Department from hon. Members Parliamentary offices were answered within 30 days of the date of receipt in each quarter from January 2008 to March 2009. 
The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members correspondence. The report for 2008 was published on 2 April 2009, Official Report, columns 80-86WS.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the percentage of electricity used by his Department which was derived from renewable sources in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. 
|Electricity derived from renewable sources|
Central Government Departments and their executive agencies are required to report performance data on their energy consumption for their office estate annually as part of the Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) reporting process.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the energy consumed per full-time equivalent member of staff in his Department in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. 
Central Government Departments and their Executive agencies are required to report performance data on their energy consumption for their office estate annually as part of the Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) reporting process.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of office supplies purchased by his Department were recycled products in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Woolas: Home Office policy is that all printer and copier paper purchased is from recycled sources. Overall for the last 12 months, for the core Home Office and the UK Border Agency, the proportions are given in the following table:
|Purchasing classification||Proportion (percentage)|
|(1) The Department's purchasing classification of paper products includes recycled copier paper and certain non-paper products from the same supplier. General stationery and computer consumables also include non-paper products such as toner cartridges.|
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the amount of waste arising from his Department in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08 (i) in total and (ii) per full-time equivalent member of staff. 
|Waste arisings (tonnes)( 1)|
|(1) Taken from Sustainable Development in Government Report.|
Data for 2006-07 include Prison Service.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of water consumption on his Departments office estate in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2006-07, (i) in total and (ii) per full-time equivalent member of staff. 
|Water consumption (M( 3) )|
Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the UK's level of compliance with the standards for the detention of children established by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in respect of immigration removal centres. 
Mr. Woolas: Detention of children takes place because of the desire not to separate children from parents who have flagrantly abused the immigration laws. The detention of children under Immigration Act powers complies with the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
A statutory Code of Practice for Keeping Children Safe from Harm was introduced in January and sets out the key principles governing how the Agency treats children, especially in detention. The Code is due to be replaced by a statutory duty to have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children in the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations his Department has received from the English Language Training sector regarding visa regulations. 
Mr. Woolas: UKBA has recently received the letter from the hon. Member for Torbay addressed to myself, enclosing correspondence from one of the Member's constituents who runs an English language school, and expressing concerns about the impact of the new student visa arrangements upon the business of language schools in the Torbay area and on the UK economy. I will be replying to that letter in the near future.
UKBA has received no other recent representations from the English language education sector on visa arrangements, aside from queries about the operation of the new system from individual providers. This sector was fully consulted during the development of the proposals which have led to the introduction of the PBS Tier 4 immigration provisions for students, and the student visitor provisions, and is represented at the regular meetings of UKBA's Joint Education Taskforce (JET), where all aspects of the provisions continue to be discussed.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms there are to ensure the standardisation between offices of procedures for the processing of applications for visas for leave to remain in the UK. 
Mr. Woolas: Within UKBA standard application procedures apply for both its in country and out of country operations. It has published service standards for all types of applications. These standards indicate the expected time taken to process an application by type and apply across all locations.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultation his Department carried out on proposals affecting student visas before the recent changes to the regulations were made. 
Mr. Woolas: Tier 4, the student tier of the Points Based System (PBS), was introduced on 31 March 2009 and was the culmination of the extensive changes to the immigration system first announced in 2004. Before introducing these changes, we consulted widely and in July 2005 published a consultation document: "Selective Admission: Making Migration Work for Britain"; this consultation ran for an extended period until November 2005.
The Joint Education Taskforce (JET) is the UK Border Agency's principal mechanism for consultation with the education sector. The JET was also established in 2005 and comprises senior figures and representative bodies from all parts of the education sector and it and its sub-groups continue to meet on a regular basis. In July 2008 we published "Students under the Points Based System(Tier 4) Statement of Intent". While this was not a further consultation, we welcomed comments from stakeholders affected by the changes proposed which were incorporated where appropriate. Both documents are available in the House Library.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are employed to conduct sponsor inspections under the Tier 4 regulations on immigration; and what training has been provided by his Department for such post-holders. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 19 June 2009]: The UK Border Agency currently employs 125 staff nationally to conduct visits to sponsors and prospective sponsors under the Points Based System which includes Tier 4.
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 22 June 2009]: Policy guidance on Tier 4 policy, which expands on the immigration rules provides the evidential requirements a migrant must meet is published, as is the Points Based Sponsor guidance which provides the evidential requirements a sponsor must meet. These documents are on the UK Border Agency website.
The Tier 4 caseworking instructions, which provide step by step process instructions to assessing officers as to how to physically consider an application, are currently being considered for publication.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether student visa applications made before 31 March 2009 are determined in accordance with the immigration rules in force at that time. 
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect on visa application rates of the requirement under the Tier 4 rules on immigration for certified translations of all documents. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 22 June 2009]: The requirement for certified translations of all documents does not appear so far to have had a significant effect on application rates. However, as Tier 4 of the Points Based System was only introduced on 31 March 2009, it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason students under Tier 4 of the points-based immigration system may not undertake a paid or unpaid work experience or internship as part of their course of study. 
Mr. Woolas: Students under Tier 4 of the Points Based System may undertake a work placement as part of their course, as long as it is an assessed part of the course and the work placement does not equate to more than 50 per cent. of the length of the course in the United Kingdom. In addition, students can undertake a work placement where their course includes a legal (statutory) requirement for this.
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 25 June 2009]: The next stage of the online system for the registration of overseas students will be launched in autumn 2009. The roll-out of the new system will be complete by the end of March 2010.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has made an assessment of the effects on the integration of non-EU domiciled students of requiring academic institutions to register their attendance. 
Mr. Woolas: All academic institutions have their own procedures in place to be able to monitor their students' attendance both to ensure their continued progress on a course but also to fulfil their duty of care. The reporting requirements placed on institutions as part of their sponsor duties under Tier 4 are sufficiently robust to ensure that students who are no longer attending are reported to the UK Border Agency, while also being sufficiently flexible to allow for the different ways in which institutions monitor student attendance.
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