Immigration Bill


The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairs: Mr Peter Bone  , † Albert Owen 

Blomfield, Paul (Sheffield Central) (Lab) 

Brokenshire, James (Minister for Immigration)  

Buckland, Robert (Solicitor General)  

Champion, Sarah (Rotherham) (Lab) 

Davies, Byron (Gower) (Con) 

Davies, Mims (Eastleigh) (Con) 

Elphicke, Charlie (Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury)  

Harris, Rebecca (Castle Point) (Con) 

Hayman, Sue (Workington) (Lab) 

Hoare, Simon (North Dorset) (Con) 

Hollern, Kate (Blackburn) (Lab) 

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma (South Shields) (Lab) 

McLaughlin, Anne (Glasgow North East) (SNP) 

Newlands, Gavin (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) (SNP) 

Smith, Chloe (Norwich North) (Con) 

Starmer, Keir (Holborn and St Pancras) (Lab) 

Tolhurst, Kelly (Rochester and Strood) (Con) 

Whittaker, Craig (Calder Valley) (Con) 

Marek Kubala, Joanna Welham, Committee Clerks

† attended the Committee

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Public Bill Committee 

Tuesday 17 November 2015  

[Mr Peter Bone in the Chair] 

Immigration Bill

New Clause 17 

Availability of local authority support 

‘Schedule (Availability of local authority support) has effect.’—(James Brokenshire.)

This new clause introduces the new Schedule which makes changes to the availability of local authority support for certain categories of migrant.

Brought up, and read the First time.  

9.30 am 

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire):  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Chair:  With this it will be convenient to discuss Government new schedule 3—Availability of local authority support. 

James Brokenshire:  I welcome you back to the Chair, Mr Bone, for our final day of deliberations on the Bill. 

The new clause and new schedule 3 make changes to the availability of local authority support in England for certain categories of migrants. The new schedule is in part a companion to schedule 6, which reforms arrangements for the provision by the Home Office of support to failed asylum seekers and other illegal migrants, which the Committee has already considered. As I said during our debates, we continue to consult with local authority colleagues, in particular on the detail of the new support arrangements and how they will sit alongside other provisions. We are clear that we want to encourage and enable more migrants without any lawful basis to remain in the United Kingdom to leave in circumstances when they can do so. 

In particular, we have been discussing with local government colleagues whether changes to schedule 3 to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, which controls access to local authority social care for migrants without immigration status, would be helpful. Our public consultation on asylum support highlighted concerns that the framework provided by schedule 3 to the 2002 Act and associated case law was complex and burdensome for local authorities to administer and involved complicated assessments and continued litigation to establish what support should be provided in what circumstances. The Committee heard similar concerns from local authority colleagues in their oral evidence to us on 22 October. 

We have listened carefully to what local authority colleagues in England told us about the scope for simplifying and strengthening some of those provisions. Our response is the amendments made by the new schedule to schedule 3 to the 2002 Act, making two key changes. First, new schedule 3 simplifies the way in which local authorities

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in England assess and provide accommodation and subsistence for destitute families without immigration status. It enables local authorities to continue to provide under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 for any other needs of a child or their family to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare. Secondly, the new schedule prevents adult migrant care leavers who have exhausted their appeal rights and have established no lawful basis to remain here from accessing local authority support under the 1989 Act. It makes alternative provision for their accommodation, subsistence and other support before they leave the UK. 

Immigration is a reserved matter and, as we have debated previously, immigration legislation—through schedule 3 to the 2002 Act—already provides a UK-wide framework for migrants’ access to local authority services. We therefore have it in mind to seek to amend the Bill at a later stage to extend those provisions to the rest of the UK once we have had further dialogue, which is in hand, with the devolved Administrations. 

Turning to the main provisions of the new schedule, paragraph 7 of new schedule 3 inserts a new paragraph 7B in schedule 3 to the 2002 Act. It provides a new simplified definition of a person without immigration status who will generally be ineligible for the forms of local authority support listed in paragraph 1(1) of schedule 3 to the Act. It replaces the convoluted immigration status definitions in paragraphs 6 to 7A of schedule 3 to the Act. 

Paragraph 8 inserts a new paragraph 10A in schedule 3 to the 2002 Act, under which regulations will be made by the Secretary of State, subject to parliamentary approval, to enable local authorities to provide for the accommodation and subsistence needs of destitute families without immigration status in circumstances in which case law and human rights considerations may well mean that the local authority should provide support. 

Such circumstances include where, first, the family has an outstanding specified immigration application or appeal—in a non-asylum case for which Home Office support is not provided. Secondly, the family might have exhausted appeal rights and not failed to co-operate with arrangements to leave the UK. They must also not qualify for the support available from the Home Office under proposed new section 95A of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, to be inserted by schedule 6 to the Bill, for failed asylum seekers with a genuine obstacle to departure at the point their appeal rights are exhausted. Thirdly, the provision of accommodation and subsistence support must be necessary to safeguard and promote the welfare of a dependent child. That will enable local authorities to take any action they consider necessary to prevent destitution pending the resolution of the family’s immigration status or their departure from the UK. 

Paragraph 4 will insert a new schedule 3A to the 2002 Act, which will mean that accommodation and subsistence support will be provided to a destitute family under the regulations made under new paragraph 10A of schedule 3 rather than under section 17 of the Children Act 1989. As we discussed in respect of schedule 6, there is no general obligation on local authorities to accommodate illegal migrants who intentionally make themselves destitute by refusing to leave the UK when it is clear that they can do so. Schedule 3 to the 2002 Act already provides that a range of local authority social care is unavailable to

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failed asylum seekers and others who remain in the UK unlawfully except when, following what can be a complex and burdensome assessment process, the local authority decides that the provision of such support is necessary to avoid a breach of human rights or on the basis of other exceptions for which schedule 3 provides. 

The new schedule will simplify the complex human rights assessment process, much of which is concerned, in line with case law, with immigration matters that are for the Home Office and the courts to determine, which the local authority has to undertake before it can assess and provide for the family’s social care needs. The provisions embody a sense of simplification. 

The main social care needs of families without immigration status who seek local authority support are for accommodation and subsistence to prevent destitution. A June 2015 study by the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at Oxford University on local authority support for such families—I referred the Committee to this in my letter that notified colleagues of the amendments—found that the welfare needs of the children at the point of referral to the local authority were overwhelmingly for accommodation and subsistence. 

The new schedule will also ensure that section 17 of the 1989 Act will remain available to the local authority, together with its other powers and duties under that Act to deal with any other needs of the child or their family that the local authority considers must be met to safeguard and promote the child’s welfare while the family’s immigration status is resolved or, where it is established that they have no lawful basis to remain here, before they leave the UK. The local authority’s duty to provide for the child’s schooling and to address any specific educational needs will also be maintained. 

The reforms to schedule 3 to the 2002 Act will simplify the basis on which local authorities deal with destitute families without immigration status and maintain essential safeguards. We are satisfied that they are compatible with our obligations under the UN convention on the rights of the child and article 3 in particular, which requires that children’s best interests are a “primary consideration” in all decisions affecting them. We are also satisfied that they are compatible with section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 under which the Secretary of State must have regard to 

“the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in the United Kingdom” 

when carrying out immigration functions. 

Paragraph 2 of the new schedule amends paragraph 1(1) of schedule 3 to the 2002 Act so that adult migrant care leavers who have exhausted their appeal rights and who have established no lawful basis to remain here are prevented from accessing local authority support for care leavers under the 1989 Act. Nearly all of those adult migrants are former asylum-seeking children whose asylum and any other human rights claims have failed. The provisions in the 1989 Act are geared to support the needs and onward development of young adults leaving local authority care whose long-term future is in the UK. Those provisions are not appropriate to the support needs, pending their departure from the UK, of adult migrants who the courts have agreed have no right to remain here. 

Paragraph 8 will insert a new paragraph 10B in schedule 3 to the 2002 Act under which regulations will be made by the Secretary of State, subject to parliamentary

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approval, to enable local authorities to provide for the support of adult migrant care leavers who have exhausted their appeal rights in respect of their asylum claim but have an outstanding specified immigration application or appeal and are destitute; or who have exhausted their appeal rights and do not qualify for Home Office support under the new section 95A of the 1999 Act because there is no genuine obstacle to their departure from the UK, but to whom the local authority is satisfied that support needs to be provided. That will enable the local authority to ensure that support does not end abruptly and that there can be a managed process of encouraging and enabling their departure from the UK. 

Paragraph 4 inserts new paragraphs 3B and 3C in schedule 3 to the 2002 Act, which means that support will be provided to the adult migrant care leaver under the regulations made under new paragraph 10B of schedule 3, or under new section 95A of the 1999 Act, rather than under the Children Act 1989. By virtue of paragraph 11 of schedule 3, the new regulations will enable local authorities to provide such other social care support, beyond accommodation and subsistence, as they consider necessary in individual circumstances. 

We are confident that the reforms to schedule 3 to the 2002 Act will simplify how local authorities deal with destitute families without immigration status, will make more appropriate provision for support to adult migrant care leavers who have not established a lawful basis to remain in the UK and will maintain essential safeguards. The provisions in the new schedule will, like those in schedule 6 to the Bill, be subject to the new burdens assessment of the final package of changes to which we have committed. 

We will continue to work closely with local authority colleagues to look at other ways in which we can improve the framework within which they work with migrants without immigration status. All are clear that we want to work together to encourage and enable more migrants who have no right to remain here and who face no barrier to their departure to leave the UK. The new provisions will help ensure that we have the right platform in place for that work. 

Chloe Smith (Norwich North) (Con):  Obviously, since the Committee last met we have seen the appalling attacks in Paris. It will not have escaped the Minister’s attention that it is considered possible that one of the attackers entered Europe as a putative refugee. Does the Minister agree with me and many of my constituents that the work we are doing with the new clause and the new schedule, and other parts of the Bill, will simplify, strengthen and prioritise the support we can give to those refugees who need it, rather than those who may be seeking to abuse the system? He surely would agree that that is important work in light of those attacks. 

James Brokenshire:  I note my hon. Friend’s comments. She will obviously have heard the Home Secretary’s statement yesterday, and the Prime Minister will make a further statement to the House today. It is important that we do not speculate on what may or may not have happened in the appalling events that we have all seen in the past few days. We stand in solidarity with the French people at this extraordinarily difficult time. We stand against those who would seek to divide us and destroy our very way of life. We all have a common

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cause in standing with the French people and all those who are against Daesh and those extremist organisations that seek to threaten our very way of life. 

In general terms, my hon. Friend has highlighted the issue of any threat that may exist with those seeking to come to Europe through an asylum-based route. We need to analyse the facts carefully as to what has or has not happened, but it is equally important to underline the stringent checks that we carry out in this country on those who are claiming asylum and how we believe it is essential to strengthen the screening and identification of those arriving on the shores of Europe. That is why we support the work of Frontex, the EU external border agency, in its work on debriefing those who are picked up. We also support such things as the Hotspots initiative in Italy, Greece and other countries, which ensures that those who are arriving are processed speedily and effectively. 

No doubt my hon. Friend will have heard the Home Secretary’s comments yesterday on the work that is undertaken to ensure that we are appropriately screening those arriving in this country through our vulnerable persons relocation scheme. All the steps we are taking are part of our focus on the security of this country, but equally they are about ensuring that those coming to this country who are fleeing persecution and in need of support are welcomed by us and given the support that they require. We believe that that approach is entirely consistent with the proposals in the Bill and is reflected in the new clause and new schedule. 

9.45 am 

Keir Starmer (Holborn and St Pancras) (Lab):  May I first echo the Minister’s comments by joining him and everybody in the House in abhorring the attacks that took place this weekend in Paris, as well as all the other attacks that have taken place elsewhere. They are attacks on our values, and we must stand together in our response. Those responsible seek to divide us; we must not be divided. As was said in the House yesterday, they are attacks on our values, our principles and our approach to issues such as refugees. It is important, if we mean what we say about our values and about standing together, that we do not diminish our stand on refugees, human rights and the sort of democratic accountability that this Committee brings to how we pass laws in this country. 

Those are important principles, and it is right that this Bill should go through such a process to ensure that there is no diminution of protection for asylum seekers and refugees or of human rights for anybody who finds themselves in this jurisdiction, whether they be an adult, a child, a refugee or anybody else. As human beings, they have human rights, and it is our business to ensure that those rights are fully upheld. I make those comments in response to the comments just made, but nothing that happened this weekend should lead any of us to think that weakening in any way our resolve to deal properly with refugees and human rights issues should be any part of the answer to the atrocities, which we are all united in abhorring. 

I will take the new clause and schedule in the order that the Minister did. Paragraph 7 of new schedule 3 is intended to provide a new, simplified definition of a

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person without immigration status who will generally be ineligible for local authority support. Can he assure us that only those currently excluded from support will continue to be excluded—in other words, that this is a simplification of the process, and that paragraph 7 does not broaden the category of individuals ineligible for support listed in schedule 3(1) of the 2002 Act? 

Paragraph 8 of new schedule 3 will provide for the accommodation and subsistence needs of destitute families without immigration status in certain circumstances. Our concern about the provision involves those who are seeking judicial review or have judicial review proceedings pending. Again, can the Minister set out the position on such individuals? It will be a change from the current position, and it excludes that group of individuals from protection. If that is not the case, an assurance to that effect would be helpful, and would go on the record. 

Paragraph 4 inserts a new paragraph 3A into schedule 3 of the 2002 Act and relates to how we deal with destitute families. Again, there are two issues for the Minister. First, without knowing the meaning of a “genuine obstacle” to return, how can the Committee assess the impact of the provision? We are considering it against a definition that is not before the Committee. Secondly—he might have dealt with this, but perhaps he can assure me if he did not—can he confirm that the needs provided for under the section appear to be narrower than those provided for under the Children Act 1989? In other words, they appear to omit disability or education needs. Given what he just said, I might be wrong about that, and a simple assurance might deal with that point. 

James Brokenshire:  If I may intervene to save time, I explained that the provision applies to housing and what are effectively direct support needs, but that the provisions of section 17 of the Children Act 1989, which relate to other needs such as medical or care needs, will still remain in force. 

 

[Albert Owen in the Chair] 

Keir Starmer:  I am grateful. I did think that that was what the Minister had said, and I just wanted that assurance. 

Turning in a little more detail to the provisions in paragraph 2 dealing with those leaving care, former looked-after children who require leave to enter or remain when they turn 18, but do not have it or are not asylum seekers, will be excluded from receiving accommodation, financial support, a personal adviser, a pathway plan, funds for education or training and any other assistance under various provisions of the Children Act 1989 and from staying put with foster carers or maintaining contact. The Minister says that that is because the needs of those who have no right to be here are different from those of people who have their future in this country. Such individuals are former looked-after children who have just turned 18, and care leavers in such circumstances include those with no immigration status, those who arrived as children and sought asylum and were granted UASC leave, and those who came to the UK at a young age but were never helped to regularise their status. 

Such people can only claim access to accommodation and other assistance in limited circumstances. The first is if they are destitute, have been refused asylum and are

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eligible for support and there is a genuine obstacle to them leaving the UK. The second is if they are destitute and have a pending non-asylum immigration application or appeal. The third is if their rights are exhausted, and regulations will set out the limited circumstances in which they can receive support. 

The concern here is that specific provision was made in the Children Act for all children leaving care in recognition of their additional vulnerabilities and the need for additional support in order for them to have the same chances as other young people entering adulthood. The new clause and new schedule fundamentally change that position. There is a real concern that someone who has just turned 18 and who, as a matter of fact and possibly because of vulnerabilities, has simply not regularised their immigration status will be denied support under this provision, which cuts across the thrust of the 1989 Act. 

Sarah Champion (Rotherham) (Lab):  I want to speak against new clause 17 and new schedule 3. I want to start by asking the Minister whether he has the approval of the Minister for Children and Families, because the provisions seem to challenge much of the core principles for which he has been arguing. The changes have far-reaching impacts on the core definitions and duties of the Children Act, and it is strange that such dramatic changes are being housed within an immigration Bill. 

Section 23(4)(c) of the Children Act places a duty on local authorities to give care leavers assistance to the extent that their welfare requires it. While the young person was a looked-after child, the local authority was their corporate parent. That duty recognises the legacy of the parental role and allows the local authority to step in and protect a care leaver in crisis. The Government’s Staying Put initiative explicitly recognises the need for care leavers to have “stable and secure homes” and to 

“be given sufficient time to prepare for life after care.” 

The Department for Education care leavers’ charter outlines key principles that will 

“remain constant through any changes in Legislation, Regulation and Guidance”, 

including the provision of advice and practical, financial and emotional support. Such initiatives are entirely undermined by the proposals. 

Migrant children in care often face additional difficulties to British children. They are particularly likely to have faced trauma. They may experience language and cultural barriers. They are less likely to have any contact with biological family members. Care leavers often need their personal adviser or advocate to help to identify and even instruct an immigration lawyer. Barnardo’s conducted a child advocacy pilot for the Home Office that by all accounts seemed to be very beneficial. It helped the young person enormously to make informed choices and it helped the state to provide the level of support that was needed, so it seems odd that the new clause will undermine the Government’s pilot. 

Not only is it discriminatory to remove support from young people leaving care on the basis of their immigration status, but in order for migrant care leavers to enter adulthood successfully it is vital that they can access a care plan under the 1989 Act. They are very young adults who often have no one else to turn to. The Government’s changes will remove all possible support

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usually provided to care leavers—including a personal adviser, a pathway plan and funding for education or training—other than, as the Minister confirmed, basic accommodation and financial assistance for certain groups. 

It is not clear from the new clause whether it is envisaged that local authorities or the Home Office will be responsible for providing the support set out in proposed new paragraph 10B. Although I oppose the changes as a whole, at the very least local authorities should be responsible for providing support if the Government are not, and that should be stated in the Bill. 

Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) (SNP):  We have spoken at length about the complexities of immigration law. In introducing yet another Immigration Bill, the Government had the opportunity to simplify some areas of the law. In areas such as appeals, the Government have, to their shame, done so by removing the right of appeal from the majority and proposing that the few who retain it might have to exercise it from outwith the country. 

Some of the strongest arguments in the whole debate have been about the support we give to migrants and refused asylum seekers, particularly the children involved in such situations. The Government’s proposals on support for 18-year-old care leavers and destitute families with children in new clause 17 and new schedule 3 are nothing short of a dog’s breakfast, and are potentially dangerous. Either by accident or design, we could very well see support removed from the most vulnerable groups. 

Under the existing system, Home Office support is provided under two relatively—I stress: relatively—broad provisions, namely sections 4 and 95. We will now have heavily caveated and more complicated support available across four provisions, including new paragraphs 10A and 10B of new schedule 3. The new clause and new schedule will sow confusion at a local authority level, and dangerous gaps in support can and will occur. 

The changes relating to section 17 of the Children Act 1989 will prevent local authorities from providing accommodation and support where there are 

“reasonable grounds for believing that support will be provided”. 

That will prevent local authorities from supporting families on the basis that they might receive support in future, even though they are not currently receiving any support. It could prevent a local authority from providing emergency support if a family are destitute and have been unable to access immediate support from the Home Office. It will also prevent local authorities from providing support to families who in principle would be entitled to support under new paragraph 10A but are not receiving it in practice. 

I am sure the Minister is well aware of the case of child EG, a one-year-old who died in 2012, followed two days later by his mother, when they were left in limbo between two different types of support. It is people like that who might be affected by the Government’s proposals. On the topic of vulnerability, there cannot be many more vulnerable people than young adults who have just turned 18 and have spent long periods of their childhood in care. Indeed, as has been alluded to, the Minister for Children and Families described them as

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“highly vulnerable” when calling for more support as part of a leaving care strategy as recently as July this year. It seems that our commitment to providing more care for this vulnerable group depends on where they were born or have come from. 

The Minister for Children and Families is not alone. The Joint Committee on Human Rights also stated that unaccompanied migrant children must be properly supported in the transition to adulthood and receive bespoke and comprehensive plans that focus on educational goals, reintegration and rehabilitation. That includes planning for possible return to their country of origin and the provision of support to young people leaving care whose appeal rights are exhausted. The Joint Committee also stated that it would be difficult to reconcile the removal of support from young people leaving care on the basis of their immigration status, rather than on assessment of need, with the non-discrimination provisions of the UN convention on the rights of the child. Article 2 of the convention requires that states respect and ensure the rights of each child in their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind. 

During the evidence sessions, we heard time and again from expert witnesses that the proposals in the Bill run counter to the provisions and principles in the Children Act 1989 and the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. The hon. Member for North Dorset mused that it might be easier just to amend the 1989 Act, much to the dismay of myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow North-east. The Government may not have gone that far, but they are trying to make changes to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 that will have a similar effect. Be in no doubt: the Scottish National party will be voting against these retrograde proposals. 

10 am 

James Brokenshire:  I shall respond to the points that have been flagged in the order in which they were made. The hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras asked a number of questions. I underline that paragraph 7B is principally a matter of clarification. Those failed asylum seekers who claim asylum at port rather than in country are covered by the definition in paragraph 7B; we argue that that provides greater clarity. He made a point about judicial review cases. If someone has been granted permission to seek judicial review in respect of an asylum or article 3 European convention on human rights claim they will now be eligible for section 95 support under schedule 6 to the Bill. 

The hon. and learned Gentleman also asked what was meant by a “genuine obstacle to return”. We debated that previously in this Committee and as I previously stated, the principal reasons will be a lack of documentation, including travel documentation, to facilitate return, or medical issues. He commented on the needs of children leaving care—a point further developed by the hon. Member for Rotherham and the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North. It is important to underline that the provisions relate to adults rather than children. That is important in the context of the UN convention on the rights of the child, as it defines a child as under the age of 18. Obviously, we are talking about adults who do not have that right to remain in the UK. 

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It may also be worth highlighting some context here. For example, in 2014 63% of asylum claims made by unaccompanied children were made by young people who arrived aged 16 or 17; therefore they had spent most of their lives outside the UK. When their claims fail and their appeal rights are exhausted, adult migrants are expected to leave this country. Any accommodation, subsistence or other support they require prior to their departure is, in our judgment, better provided under provisions intended for that purpose, not under the Children Act care leaver provisions intended to support the development of young people whose long-term future is in the UK. That is the distinction we draw. 

Keir Starmer:  What does the Minister say to the concern that those coming out of care may very well be vulnerable and traumatised, whatever age they went into care? They might not have regularised their status and will need access, for example, to an adviser even to get as far as an immigration lawyer to start the process. I appreciate what he says about age, but these are children who have just turned 18. What does he say to that group? 

James Brokenshire:  Obviously, if someone comes to this country as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child, their case will be considered in that context and whether they become appeal rights exhausted up to the point at which they turn 18. It is not simply about how we approach this when someone gets to 18; for example, when they are 17 and a half they are reminded that they do not have status and that they should be regularising their position if they have not already done so. At that stage, obviously, the provisions that would continue to exist for a child, with the potential for a local authority to provide a personal adviser, will have been put in place. 

Keir Starmer:  That answer is inadequate. The Minister makes a distinction between those who are 18 and under 18. What he is saying is that we tell children that they must undertake whatever proceedings they need to regularise their status, and if they do not do so, when they get to 18, when they may still be very vulnerable and in need, they have missed the opportunity, perhaps because, as children, they did not understand what they were supposed to do. How is this supposed to work in practice for that vulnerable group? 

James Brokenshire:  As the hon. and learned Gentleman has already highlighted, support is provided to a child within the meaning of the Children Act. The point we are making is that when someone becomes an adult who is appeal rights exhausted, it is appropriate for the state to seek the removal of that adult from the UK in those circumstances. We are making an in-principle point about facilitating the removal of those with no rights to be here. The hon. and learned Gentleman seems to be suggesting that because someone came to this country as an unaccompanied asylum-seeking child, they have an enhanced right to remain in this country. We are saying that that is not correct. We should of course work with the Home Office to see that someone returns in those circumstances and that they are assisted to do so. Fundamentally, the provisions in the Children Act are designed for those who are likely to stay in the

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UK. Therefore it is our judgment that they should not apply and that is why we are bringing forward these provisions. 

To the hon. Member for Rotherham I would add that we have consulted the Department for Education closely in the preparation of these provisions. The schedule therefore reflects a whole of Government view, rather than just a Home Office view. 

Sarah Champion:  May I have a brief clarification from the Minister? My understanding is that, if the child or young person is in a care home, the Minister is absolutely right—the age of 18 is the cut-off. If a child or young person is in foster care, I thought we had changed it so that the age at which they stop receiving support is now 21. Would that apply to an unaccompanied asylum seeker, or will they be discriminated against? 

James Brokenshire:  The point is that there is no discrimination. As I have already indicated, we are talking about children and the support provided under the Children Act. When someone turns 18, they are an adult and therefore we judge it is appropriate that the new provisions should apply. I think that the hon. Lady was highlighting the staying put duty in respect of foster parents. We are saying that, at the point at which someone becomes an adult, they should be leaving the UK and not staying put within the UK. Obviously, we have a strong desire to work with local authorities and with the young people themselves to support them in their departure from the UK. 

I want to address the point about gaps made by the hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, which was also made in the briefing from the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association that I am sure hon. Members have received. We do not agree with the analysis that is given. Indeed, we think that the provisions in the new schedule will assist, because we can see that support is being provided. We are simplifying the basis on which the principal need of families without immigration status can be met by local authorities. That need is for accommodation and subsistence support to prevent destitution, as is clearly shown by the study I have highlighted and previously referred to. In respect of family groups, we are clear that section 17 of the Children Act will remain the basis on which local authorities will meet any other social care needs beyond destitution—that is, what they consider to be necessary to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child pending resolution of a family’s immigration status or their departure from the UK. I intervened on the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras on that point. 

The individual case that the hon. and learned Gentleman highlighted involved moving to DWP benefits rather than asylum support. As has been flagged previously, there have been delays in respect of some of the provisions. The Immigration Act and schedule 3 provisions we are discussing are about simplifying the process, so that there are not those laborious human rights assessments that replicate a number of other assessments in the system. The intention is to close some of the gaps, rather than extend them. That is why we take a different view from the analysis articulated by the hon. and learned Gentleman and set out in the ILPA briefing notes. We can see a difference of principle in the Committee

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this morning on the appropriateness of continuing Children Act provisions beyond the age of 18. Our judgment is that at that stage people should be leaving the UK rather than staying, and therefore we are talking about two distinct mechanisms and two distinct means. I hope that the Committee will be minded to incorporate the new clause into the Bill. 

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time. 

The Committee divided: Ayes 8, Noes 6. 

Division No. 33 ]  

AYES

Brokenshire, rh James   

Buckland, Robert   

Davies, Mims   

Elphicke, Charlie   

Harris, Rebecca   

Hoare, Simon   

Smith, Chloe   

Whittaker, Craig   

NOES

Champion, Sarah   

Hayman, Sue   

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma   

McLaughlin, Anne   

Newlands, Gavin   

Starmer, Keir   

Question accordingly agreed to.  

New c lause 17 read a Second time , and added to the Bill.  

New Clause 4 

Extension of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority Remit 

“(1) The Secretary of State shall undertake a review of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority’s remit with regard to section 2 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 and the necessity and evidence for an extension of work covered by this Act and the additional resources required for any additional work, and lay a report in both Houses of Parliament within one year of this Bill obtaining Royal Assent.

(2) The Secretary of State may by order amend section 3 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 to include other areas of work where the Secretary of State believes abuse and exploitation of workers may be taking place, and must allocate additional resources accordingly.”—(Keir Starmer.)

To extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority with appropriate resourcing, to better enforce labour standards in high risk sectors beyond agriculture, gathering shellfish, processing and packaging.

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Keir Starmer:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Gangmasters Licensing Authority—GLA—is the foremost labour inspection agency in the UK and it works to protect workers within the sectors it oversees, namely agriculture, forestry, horticulture, shellfish gathering, and food processing and packaging. It was set up in the aftermath of the 2004 Morecambe bay cockling disaster, in which 23 Chinese cockle pickers drowned when trapped by sweeping tides. In the past two years, the authority has prevented the exploitation of probably more than 5,000 workers. 

During debates on the Modern Slavery Act 2015, a number of colleagues called for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority’s remit to be extended to cover sectors beyond those it currently regulates to include other sectors known to be high risk, among them construction, hospitality

Column number: 531 
and social care. We then have the provisions in the Bill, which are not an extension of the GLA’s powers but the creation of a different body—the director of labour market enforcement. We welcome and support that, but there are two major implications. First, by increasing the focus on criminal investigations by the GLA, the provisions extend investigations within the existing remit but not the remit itself. The first issue that raises is one of resources, which has already been touched on in previous discussions in the Committee. Without the resources to go with the additional number of criminal investigations there is, in fact, a thinning down of the GLA’s ability to carry out its important work, rather than a reinforcing of it. 

At this stage in particular, I draw to the Committee’s attention the fact that the GLA already sustained 20% savings—or cuts—in the previous spending review. There is a new spending review pending, and I ask the Minister: what further cuts are expected to the GLA in that review? 

Secondly, on a separate point, the consultation exercise that accompanies the Bill seems to suggest going down the route of voluntary rather than statutory licensing. It would be helpful for the Committee if the Minister clarified whether this is the intended direction of travel for the GLA, particularly since, in our opinion, the statutory licencing approach has worked very well in the past. 

10.15 am 

James Brokenshire:  I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman for proposing the new clause, which seeks to introduce a power to extend the licensing regime contained in the Gangmasters Licensing Act 2004 to new sectors of the economy. It rightly facilitates a debate and I join him in underlining the important work that the GLA has undertaken and how it remains an important agency in seeking to respond to labour market abuses. 

The hon. and learned Gentleman will recollect our debates on the director of labour market enforcement and the new strategy that we intend to adopt. He will also remember that I made it clear that it would be for the director of labour market enforcement effectively to make recommendations as to how resources should be applied within the overall spending envelope. 

The hon. and learned Gentleman asked about the spending review. Sadly, that is a matter for others, and he will have to wait for the Chancellor’s statement next week. I am not going to tread on the Chancellor’s toes. I think that is the right and proper way. However, I want to touch on the current consultation on the role and remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. Hon. Members have already voiced opinions of the work undertaken by the GLA and I hope they will welcome the consultation and the questions it asks about the GLA’s role in tackling labour market exploitation. 

As demonstrated by the amendments to the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which require a review of the role of the GLA, we have taken very seriously the issues raised during debates during the passage of that Act about whether the GLA should have a wider role. Section 55 of the Modern Slavery Act already requires the Government

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to publish a paper on the role of the GLA and to consult on it. Our current consultation on the GLA and wider labour market exploitation fulfils that requirement. 

We are unclear what the new clause seeks to achieve, given that we are in the midst of consulting on the GLA’s remit and role. In fact, our consultation goes further than the new clause proposes. We are seeking views on extending the role of the GLA beyond its current role in licensing gangmasters in certain sectors. The new clause appears to restrict the GLA’s role solely to licensing. We have a broader ambition for the GLA’s contribution to tackling exploitation, which is why we are proposing a new, wider remit for the GLA with new investigatory and enforcement powers to tackle serious cases of labour market exploitation, wherever they occur in the economy. We also want to ensure that the licensing regime can be adapted to fit the latest intelligence and the changing threat of worker exploitation in different sectors. We have set out several proposals in our consultation that we believe would achieve that. 

We are looking to the role of the director of labour market enforcement to recommend any changes to the current statutory licensing regime and also to work closely with businesses to identify areas of possible self-regulation. It is the director’s role in considering the use of licensing to tackle labour market exploitation. The consultation proposes that the director should recommend extensions or reductions to the licensing remit. That may identify new sectors beyond those in the remit of the licensing regime where licensing can play a part in tackling worker exploitation. 

At paragraph 137 of the consultation document, we suggest: 

“a flexible and evidence-based approach to using licensing as a tool to prevent exploitation in the very highest risk sectors. Any changes to the licensed sectors would be agreed by Parliament, after Ministers had considered an evidence based proposal from the Director. This would be based on a risk based intelligence analysis of labour sectors.” 

So we are envisaging a regulation-making power that would allow Ministers to change the licensing regime or the sectors covered by licensing through regulations that would be agreed by Parliament, after Ministers had considered the director’s evidence-based proposal. We believe that that would give an appropriate level of scrutiny to the evidence presented for any changes to the licensing regime. 

We are consulting on the changes because we recognise the broad support to build on the effectiveness and good work of the GLA by providing the authority with further powers to increase its already strong performance. Once the consultation has closed, we will consider our response, including the funding necessary for the GLA to operate effectively in the context of the spending review, the results of which will be announced shortly. We fully expect that process to conclude during the passage of the Bill. 

In the light of the proposals made in the consultation, which would extend the GLA’s enforcement function across the economy and set the framework for evidence-based decisions on licensing, we believe that the new clause is unnecessary, but we look forward to the results of the consultation and a clear, evidence-based analysis, which I hope will strengthen the GLA and our response to illegal working and to those who are abusing the vulnerable. We are adding to the GLA’s functions and

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to the progress in enhancing our response to bad, inappropriate and at times illegal practices in the labour market. The new enforcement measures contemplated in the Bill will strengthen the GLA. 

Keir Starmer:  The Minister resists the temptation to anticipate the Chancellor, but I wager that the resources for the GLA will go down, not up. All that will be discussed between now and what will be announced is by how much the resources will go down. I hope I am wrong, but I doubt it. 

I fear what the Minister and other Ministers have said about savings and cuts. Of course I accept that efficiencies can always be made, but I have deep concerns that, in the area we are discussing, as well as in others, we will look back on the spending review and recognise that we did long-standing damage to the ability of our various agencies and authorities to carry out their necessary work, in particular with those who are most exploited in our society. However, we can return to the subject after the Chancellor’s announcement and see what the position is. 

The Minister asked what the purpose of the new clause was. It was to build in a review. I listened carefully to what he said about the consultation and what might follow, and I welcome that. Given what he said about the exercise to be followed, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn. 

New Clause 6 

Additional measures in relation to victims of domestic violence or human trafficking 

‘(1) The Immigration Act 2014 is amended in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) In Section 21 after sub-section (4) insert—

“(4A) P is to be treated as having a right to rent in relation to premises (in spite of subsection (2)) if they are in the process of applying for leave to remain under Paragraph 289 of the Immigration Rules as a victim of domestic violence.

(4B) P is to be treated as having a right to rent in relation to premises (in spite of subsection (2)) if they have received a reasonable grounds decision from UK Visas and Immigration that they are a victim of human trafficking.”’—(Keir Starmer.)

This new clause would enable suspected victims of human trafficking or domestic violence, who do not have a final visa giving them leave to remain, the right to enter into a tenancy.

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Keir Starmer:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Chair:  With this it will be convenient to discuss new clause 10—Persons disqualified by immigration status or with limited right to rent 

‘(1) The Immigration Act 2014 is amended in accordance with subsections (2) to (3).

(2) Omit section 21(3) and insert—

“(3) But P is to be treated as having a right to rent in relation to premises (in spite of subsection (2)) if:

(a) the Secretary of State has granted P permission for the purposes of this Chapter to occupy premises under a residential tenancy agreement; or

(b) P has been granted immigration bail; or

Column number: 534 

(c) P is to be treated as having been granted immigration bail.”’

To ensure that persons seeking asylum who can afford to rent privately, persons with outstanding applications and persons with outstanding appeals or judicial reviews are able to rent.

Keir Starmer:  I will do my best to be as persuasive as my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham had she spoken on the proposed provisions. It is convenient to take the two new clauses together. 

New clause 6 is in essence an attempt to carve out an exemption to the restrictions on right to rent in relation to two particularly vulnerable groups—suspected victims of domestic violence or human trafficking—and gives them the right to enter into a tenancy. Our concern is the unintended consequence of those two groups not being able to be properly accommodated. 

New clause 10 is different. It is intended to provide a right to rent to anyone known to and in touch with the authorities, whom the authorities have chosen not to detain, where they are in a financial position to rent privately. If they are not in a position to rent privately, they would be catered for differently through support, so this is a sub-group within the group that is known to be in touch with the authorities, but not detained. It has been suggested that the Secretary of State will exercise discretionary power in relation to that group. The new clause is intended to put that on a proper statutory basis so that that group is properly protected. 

James Brokenshire:  The Government completely agree that victims of domestic violence and human trafficking should not be disadvantaged as a result of this legislation or the previous Immigration Act. We accept that individuals in such a vulnerable position should have access to the private rented sector. The aims and objectives in new clause 6 are laudable, but we do not believe they are necessary. 

When the 2014 Act was before Parliament, we were concerned that the Secretary of State should have sufficient latitude to be able to exempt specific persons from the disqualification on renting premises if need be. Subsection (3) of section 21 of that Act provides that a person is to be treated as having a right to rent if the Secretary of State has granted that person permission to occupy premises under a residential tenancy agreement. That can be exercised on behalf of vulnerable people. In addition, the Act provides exemptions whereby the provisions do not apply to certain excluded tenancy agreements. Schedule 3 specifically excludes hostels and refuges. Paragraph 6(5) to schedule 3 defines refuges as accommodation used for persons who have been subject to violence, threats and other coercive and abusive behaviour, so persons in refuges will not be disadvantaged. 

Where a potential victim of human trafficking has received a positive reasonable grounds decision through the national referral mechanism, the Government fund specialist accommodation and support, as do the devolved Administrations, which is provided until a conclusive grounds decision is reached on their status as a victim and on any discretionary leave resulting from that status. 

New clause 10 is also unnecessary. Persons seeking asylum who can afford to rent privately, and persons who have a genuine barrier preventing their departure from the UK, can already obtain permission to rent from the Home Office. That permission to rent mechanism

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already exists in section 21(3) of the Immigration Act 2014. Landlords of prospective migrant tenants who believe that they may qualify for permission to rent can contact the Home Office to conduct a right to rent check. 

There is also no need for a statutory provision for permission to rent for persons granted immigration bail. Such persons are always given permission, and Home Office presenting officers have been instructed to assure immigration judges that, should they choose to release an immigrant on bail, the Home Office will provide permission to rent. That is our very clear policy. The tribunal has found this approach acceptable. It is also the case that there may be other instances where permission to rent is appropriate, such as where an illegal immigrant faces a recognised barrier to returning home. 

10.30 am 

On the national referral mechanism, we aim to make a reasonable grounds decision within five days. Once a positive reasonable grounds decision is made, potential victims of modern slavery can access accommodation and support through the Government-funded contract run by the Salvation Army, which many hon. Members will be well aware of. It is therefore normally through that mechanism that support is provided. The hon. and learned Gentleman highlights the issue of discretion. I think that I have explained that we seek to apply discretion if there is continued consideration moving towards a conclusive decision. However, in all practical circumstances, support would normally be provided through the Salvation Army-run contracts and through the arrangements of the devolved Administrations. We judge that, practically, these amendments are not needed because support is given. 

Keir Starmer:  I am grateful to the Minister for his comments. I think we share concerns about the particular groups that are dealt with under the new clauses. The gap between us is between a statutory scheme under the new clause and a discretionary scheme exercised by the Secretary of State. The Minister has, however, set out in some detail what the policy approach is and has given a clear steer as to how measures are being and will be operated. In those circumstances, the gap is in fact smaller than it might otherwise have been and I will not press the new clause. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn .  

New Clause 7 

Residential tenancies: repeal of provisions of the Immigration Act 2014 

‘(1) The Immigration Act 2014 is amended as follows.

(2) Omit sections 20-37, 74(2)(a) and Schedule 3.—(Keir Starmer.)

Together with amendment 84, this amendment removes the residential tenancies provisions from both the Immigration Act 2014 and the current Bill.

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Column number: 536 

10.30 am 

Keir Starmer:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

I can deal with new clause 7 very briefly because, as hon. Members will see, it is associated with, and is I think the flipside of, amendment 84, which we discussed the week before last. It aims to remove the residential tenancies right to move provisions from the Immigration Act, but the Committee has already had a substantive debate on this, including discussion of the west midlands pilot, and we voted on amendment 84. In those circumstances, whatever our respective views on these provisions, I am not sure they will become any more influential or powerful by being repeated at length. I therefore do not propose to press new clause 7. 

James Brokenshire:  The hon. and learned Gentleman has clearly reaffirmed the Opposition’s position and I do not think, in the interests of time, that there is any merit in my going over some of the detailed debates that we have already had on amendment 84. We have had extensive debate on the right to rent and I know that there is a difference of opinion across the Committee. Equally I know that the hon. and learned Gentleman recognises that a vote has already been taken and that this new clause repeats some of that ground. I welcome his comment that he does not intend to push new clause 7 to a vote. 

Keir Starmer:  I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.  

New Clause 8 

Persons with a right to rent  

‘(1) The Immigration Act 2014 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 21(2)(a) after “have it,” insert “subject to subsection (2A)”.

(3) After section 21(2) insert—

“(2A) P retains a right to rent under this section:

(a) for 90 days after P’s leave to enter or remain comes to an end; or

(b) until the end of the one year beginning with the date on which P’s landlord last complied with the prescribed requirements in respect of P, whichever is longer.”

(4) After section 21(4) (b) insert—

“(c) a person who has retained a right to rent under subsection (2A).”—(Keir Starmer.)

To amend the Immigration Act 2014 to provide protection for landlords and landladies from prosecution when their tenant’s leave comes to an end.

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Keir Starmer:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

The Chair:  With this it will be convenient to discuss new clause 9—Immigration Act 2014: Premises shared with the landlord or a member of his family  

‘(1) The Immigration Act 2014 is amended in accordance with subsection (2).

(2) In Clause 20 (Residential tenancy agreement), omit the “and” at the end of subparagraph (b), and insert—

Column number: 537 

“(ba) is not an agreement granting a right of occupation of premises shared with the landlord, licensor or a member of his family, and””

To exclude from the definition of a residential tenancy agreement those agreements relating to accommodation shared with a landlord or a member of his family, so that individuals who rent out rooms or take lodgers into their homes, as opposed to renting out a whole flat or house, are not part of the right to rent provisions.

Keir Starmer:  I intend to take a similar approach to new clause 8 as I took to new clause 7. It goes, again, to an issue that we have already discussed: the element of protection given to landlords who find themselves in a situation where they are immediately criminalised under the new provisions, about which we expressed considerable concern in the debate that we had the week before last. This provision deals with what we see as the injustice of that situation by providing for a 90-day grace period to protect landlords. It is, in essence, a version of the argument, or the submission, that we made two weeks ago, which was dealt with by a vote on protection for landlords. Again, I doubt that in the intervening two weeks the arguments on either side have either changed or strengthened, so I will not press the new clause. 

New clause 9 has one foot in the camp of having already been discussed and one foot in the camp of being new. The last time we touched on similar provisions was in relation to a concern about those in a household who may find themselves advertising for co-tenants. The example discussed in Committee was that of students in a flat who might advertise when one of their number leaves. The Minister gave various assurances and made it clear that in those circumstances they would not come within the definition of an agent and therefore there was no need for concern. I accept that and, from memory, we withdrew the amendment on that basis. 

New clause 9 is concerned with a not dissimilar situation, of a landlord renting accommodation that is shared by the landlord or a member of his or her family. It draws a distinction between, on the one hand, professional landlords, and on the other, those who simply let out a room in their house or flat. There is no real evidence on the likely impact of the new provisions on that group, but they will be impactful. New clause 9 drives at that group of individuals. 

James Brokenshire:  As the Government have explained, the new offences relating to landlords and agents will be targeted at cases where there has been repeated or particularly serious behaviour as regards renting to illegal migrants or failing to evict them. As I made clear and as we have debated previously, it is not intended to target landlords who are unaware that someone is disqualified from renting, nor will such landlords meet the 

“knows or has reasonable cause to believe” 

threshold required for commission of the offence. It is not intended to take steps to prosecute landlords who are taking reasonable steps to remove someone they know to be disqualified from their property. I recognise that, in part, new clause 8 goes over ground that we have debated at length in Committee, therefore I do not see a need to rerehearse some of the issues debated previously. 

New clause 9 touches on some different points and seeks to place lodgers and instances where a person is renting to a family member outside the scope of the

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right to rent scheme. That was debated at some length at the time of the Immigration Act 2014 and was considered by the House in the context of its application to lodgers. There is already guidance about the position of those renting to close family. For example, undertaking a right to rent check provides a landlord with an excuse as regards the civil penalty. Where someone is confident that their family member is lawfully in the UK, there will be no need for them to undertake the checks to establish that excuse. 

Our concern is that taking lodgers out of the scheme will mean that a significant number of illegal migrants and those who exploit them are left untouched, in essence creating a gap in the legislation. That would provide an easy means by which rogue landlords could avoid any sanctions, for instance by arguing that the property was their family home or by arranging for one tenant to take in another occupant as a lodger. Sadly, we know that there is exploitation, there are rogue landlords and that that is a risk. We believe that the checks are straightforward and should be no more difficult for someone letting out a spare room than for any other person who might be within the ambit of the Bill, for example through a formal tenancy. Anyone who accepts remuneration for renting property should accept the responsibilities involved in doing so, such as carrying out the basic checks previously debated and discussed in Committee. The concern about the gap that would be created and the risk that it might lead to further exploitation, with people being taken advantage of, means that we judge that this provision is not appropriate. 

Anne McLaughlin (Glasgow North East) (SNP):  The Minister might remember that in a Committee sitting a couple of weeks ago I asked whether people who let out or gave a room via a charity, for no money or a token sum to cover their rising costs, were already exempt. I did not get an answer at the time, and I do not know whether that was because the Minister forgot, or did not want, to answer. Might this be an appropriate time to ask the question again? There are charities that fix destitute people up with others who have a spare room, and with some of the charities the person gets no recompense and with others they get a tiny amount to cover the increased fuel and other costs. Were such people already exempt, or will they be covered by the provisions? 

James Brokenshire:  I am sorry if I did not respond previously and I can assure the hon. Lady that it would certainly not have been from not wanting to answer. As she knows, a number of points are made during a debate and sometimes one might inadvertently pass over one of them. In respect of the right to rent scheme, and therefore the statutory excuse, which is what we are talking about, if no money changes hands the arrangement is exempt. I do not know if that helps her. There has to be what would be described in legal terms as some sort of payment or consideration for someone to be captured. 

Anne McLaughlin:  I am pleased to hear that, but some charities give a tiny, token amount for a donated room. It obviously costs more to have somebody living in a spare room, so the amount is not a profit or a commercial arrangement—it is just a token amount to

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cover the additional costs. Would that circumstance be exempt or would we have to introduce a provision at a later stage to exempt it? 

James Brokenshire:  It is obviously difficult, nor would it be right, for me to comment on specific arrangements. I have already talked about refuges and the separate exemptions that apply regarding the support provided for victims of trafficking, and in other circumstances within the definitions that were set out. I have spoken about the issue of nothing of monetary value changing hands, but ultimately we are looking at those with no right to be in the country. That is, I suppose, the basis of the question, and therefore some charitable support might be provided in other circumstances. That is why I must be careful in understanding the specifics, but I think that existing exemptions apply, and these were considered in detail when the right to rent scheme was original considered by the House. There are specific exemptions that we judge to be appropriate, and which cover, in particular, issues of vulnerability and abuse. Refuges play an incredible and essential role in providing appropriate support, and they are normally run by charities and other non-governmental organisations. It was right to put in those exemptions and we judge that they remain appropriate. 

Keir Starmer:  I am grateful for the Minister’s comments, in particular on new clause 8. I think he said that it was not the intention to prosecute landlords who took reasonable steps to take adequate action. As he well knows, in the end that is a matter for those who prosecute, but what he has said will now be on the record. It gives some assurance, certainly to Labour members of the Committee and also to landlords who have raised the issue with us, as well as with other members of the Committee, on a number of occasions. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause , by leave, withdrawn .  

New Clause 11 

Eligibility for housing and homelessness assistance 

“The Secretary of State shall make provision by regulations to ensure that a person granted leave to enter or remain under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1971, whether under rules made under that section or otherwise, who is eligible for public funds shall also be eligible for housing and homelessness services.”—(Keir Starmer.)

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Keir Starmer:  I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time. 

This is my final appearance on an amendment or new clause, and it is fitting that the new clause is a probing one. Concerns have been raised about eligibility for housing and homelessness assistance. As a result of changes to immigration law and practice, some young people in households with children given leave to remain in the UK that allows them to claim all relevant benefits have un- intentionally been made ineligible for local authority housing and homelessness services, leaving them disadvantaged and creating a problem for social services, which must house them in emergencies if housing departments cannot do so. 

Column number: 540 

The intention behind the new clause is to avoid what is hopefully an unintended consequence. If a level of assurance can be given that that will not be a consequence, the new clause has no purpose. 

10.45 am 

James Brokenshire:  Migrants granted leave to enter or remain in the UK are generally expected to be able to maintain and accommodate themselves without recourse to public funds in the form of mainstream welfare benefits or local authority housing support. There is legislation in place to ensure that the majority of migrants cannot access those public funds. The Government are aware that in some cases a person granted immigration leave with no bar to accessing public funds might require local authority housing or homelessness support but would currently be ineligible as they are not settled here. 

The Home Office is working with other Departments—the Department for Communities and Local Government in particular—to remedy the situation as swiftly as possible. It does not follow, however, that everyone who has been granted leave should have an immediate and enforceable claim to access local authority support and services, even where there is no bar to them accessing other public funds. 

The No Recourse to Public Funds Network has highlighted the issue of the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006, which control access to homelessness assistance and still refer to the discretionary leave category. That is quite a technical but important point. I assure the Committee that we are working closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government to examine amendments to the 2006 regulations, which is the relevant point. 

There is an issue here, but I hope, with that assurance, the hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras will be minded to withdraw the new clause, while noting that this is something we are aware of and will take steps to remedy. 

Keir Starmer:  The purpose of a probing amendment is to identify a particular concern and seek assurance on it. The Minister gave that assurance and says all are working on a remedy. In those circumstances, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion. 

Clause, by leave, withdrawn. 

New Schedule 1 

Private hire vehicles etc 

Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869 (c. 115)

1 The Metropolitan Public Carriage Act 1869 is amended as follows.

2 In section 8(7) (driver’s licence to be in force for three years unless suspended or revoked) for “A” substitute “Subject to section 8A, a”.

3 After section 8 insert—

“8A Drivers’ licences for persons subject to immigration control

(1) Subsection (2) applies if—

(a) a licence under section 8 is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period (“the leave period”),

(b) the person’s leave has not been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision), and

(c) apart from subsection (2), the period for which the licence would have been in force would have ended after the end of the leave period.

Column number: 541 

(2) Transport for London must grant the licence for a period which ends at or before the end of the leave period.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if—

(a) a licence under section 8 is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period, and

(b) the person’s leave has been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision).

(4) Transport for London must grant the licence for a period that does not exceed six months.

(5) A licence under section 8 ceases to be in force if the person to whom it was granted becomes disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from driving a hackney carriage.

(6) If subsection (5) applies to a licence, the person to whom it was granted must, within the period of 7 days beginning with the day after the day on which the person first became disqualified, return to Transport for London—

(a) the licence,

(b) the person’s copy of the licence (if any), and

(c) the person’s driver’s badge.

(7) A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes subsection (6) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction—

(a) to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale, and

(b) in the case of a continuing offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds for each day during which an offence continues after conviction.

(8) For the purposes of this section a person is disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from driving a hackney carriage if the person is subject to immigration control and —

(a) the person has not been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or

(b) the person’s leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom—

(i) is invalid,

(ii) has ceased to have effect (whether by reason of curtailment, revocation, cancellation, passage of time or otherwise), or

(iii) is subject to a condition preventing the individual from driving a hackney carriage.

(9) Where a person is on immigration bail within the meaning of Part 1 of Schedule 5 to the Immigration Act 2016—

(a) the person is to be treated for the purposes of this section as if the person had been granted leave to enter the United Kingdom, but

(b) any condition as to the person’s work in the United Kingdom to which the person’s immigration bail is subject is to be treated for those purposes as a condition of leave.

(10) For the purposes of this section a person is subject to immigration control if under the Immigration Act 1971 the person requires leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.”

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (c. 57)

4 The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 is amended as follows.

5 (1) Section 51 (licensing of drivers of private hire vehicles) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) in paragraph (a) after “satisfied” insert “—(i)”, and

(b) for the “or” at the end of paragraph (a) substitute “and

(ii) that the applicant is not disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from driving a private hire vehicle; or”.

(3) After subsection (1) insert—

Column number: 542 

“(1ZA) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) whether an applicant is disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from driving a private hire vehicle, a district council must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.”

6 In section 53(1) (drivers’ licences for hackney carriages and private hire vehicles)—

(a) in paragraph (a) for “Every” substitute “Subject to section 53A, every”, and

(b) in paragraph (b) after “1889,” insert “but subject to section 53A,”.

7 After section 53 insert—

“53A Drivers’ licences for persons subject to immigration control

(1) Subsection (2) applies if—

(a) a licence within section 53(1)(a) or (b) is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period (“the leave period”);

(b) the person’s leave has not been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision); and

(c) apart from subsection (2), the period for which the licence would have been in force would have ended after the end of the leave period.

(2) The district council which grants the licence must specify a period in the licence as the period for which it remains in force; and that period must end at or before the end of the leave period.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if—

(a) a licence within section 53(1)(a) or (b) is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period; and

(b) the person’s leave has been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision).

(4) The district council which grants the licence must specify a period in the licence as the period for which it remains in force; and that period must not exceed six months.

(5) A licence within section 53(1)(a) ceases to be in force if the person to whom it was granted becomes disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from driving a private hire vehicle.

(6) A licence within section 53(1)(b) ceases to be in force if the person to whom it was granted becomes disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from driving a hackney carriage.

(7) If subsection (5) or (6) applies to a licence, the person to whom it was granted must, within the period of 7 days beginning with the day after the day on which the person first became disqualified, return the licence and the person’s driver’s badge to the district council which granted the licence.

(8) A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes subsection (7) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction—

(a) to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale; and

(b) in the case of a continuing offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds for each day during which an offence continues after conviction.”

8 (1) Section 55 (licensing of operators of private hire vehicles) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) after “satisfied” insert “—(a)”, and

(b) at the end of paragraph (a) insert “; and

(b) if the applicant is an individual, that the applicant is not disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from operating a private hire vehicle.”

(3) After subsection (1) insert—

Column number: 543 

“(1A) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) whether an applicant is disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from operating a private hire vehicle, a district council must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.”

(4) In subsection (2) for “Every” substitute “Subject to section 55ZA, every”.

9 After section 55 insert—

“55ZA Operators’ licences for persons subject to immigration control

(1) Subsection (2) applies if—

(a) a licence under section 55 is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period (“the leave period”);

(b) the person’s leave has not been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision); and

(c) apart from subsection (2), the period for which the licence would have been in force would have ended after the end of the leave period.

(2) The district council which grants the licence must specify a period in the licence as the period for which it remains in force; and that period must end at or before the end of the leave period.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if—

(a) a licence under section 55 is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period; and

(b) the person’s leave has been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision).

(4) The district council which grants the licence must specify a period in the licence as the period for which it remains in force; and that period must not exceed six months.

(5) A licence under section 55 ceases to be in force if the person to whom it was granted becomes disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from operating a private hire vehicle.

(6) If subsection (5) applies to a licence, the person to whom it was granted must, within the period of 7 days beginning with the day after the day on which the person first became disqualified, return it to the district council which granted the licence.

(7) A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes subsection (6) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction—

(a) to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale; and

(b) in the case of a continuing offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds for each day during which an offence continues after conviction.”

10 (1) Section 59 (qualification for drivers of hackney carriages) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) in paragraph (a) after “satisfied” insert “—(i)”, and

(b) for the “or” at the end of paragraph (a) substitute “and

(ii) that the applicant is not disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from driving a hackney carriage; or”.

(3) After subsection (1) insert—

“(1ZA) In determining for the purposes of subsection (1) whether an applicant is disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from driving a hackney carriage, a district council must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.”

11 In section 61(1) (suspension and revocation of drivers’ licences) before the “or” at the end of paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) that he has since the grant of the licence been convicted of an immigration offence or required to pay an immigration penalty;”.

12 In section 62(1) (suspension and revocation of operators’ licences) before the “or” at the end of paragraph (c) insert—

Column number: 544 

“(ca) that the operator has since the grant of the licence been convicted of an immigration offence or required to pay an immigration penalty;”.

13 In section 77 (appeals) after subsection (3) insert—

“(4) On an appeal under this Part of this Act or an appeal under section 302 of the Act of 1936 as applied by this section, the court is not entitled to entertain any question as to whether—

(a) a person should be, or should have been, granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom; or

(b) a person has, after the date of the decision being appealed against, been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.”

14 After section 79 insert—

“79A Persons disqualified by reason of immigration status

(1) For the purposes of this Part of this Act a person is disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from carrying on a licensable activity if the person is subject to immigration control and —

(a) the person has not been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom; or

(b) the person’s leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom—

(i) is invalid;

(ii) has ceased to have effect (whether by reason of curtailment, revocation, cancellation, passage of time or otherwise); or

(iii) is subject to a condition preventing the individual from carrying on the licensable activity.

(2) Where a person is on immigration bail within the meaning of Part 1 of Schedule 5 to the Immigration Act 2016—

(a) the person is to be treated for the purposes of this Part of this Act as if the person had been granted leave to enter the United Kingdom; but

(b) any condition as to the person’s work in the United Kingdom to which the person’s immigration bail is subject is to be treated for those purposes as a condition of leave.

(3) For the purposes of this section a person is subject to immigration control if under the Immigration Act 1971 the person requires leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.

(4) For the purposes of this section a person carries on a licensable activity if the person—

(a) drives a private hire vehicle;

(b) operates a private hire vehicle; or

(c) drives a hackney carriage.

79B Immigration offences and immigration penalties

(1) In this Part of this Act “immigration offence” means—

(a) an offence under any of the Immigration Acts;

(b) an offence under section 1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 of attempting to commit an offence within paragraph (a); or

(c) an offence under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 of conspiracy to commit an offence within paragraph (a).

(2) In this Part of this Act “immigration penalty” means a penalty under—

(a) section 15 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”); or

(b) section 23 of the Immigration Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”).

(3) For the purposes of this Part of this Act a person to whom a penalty notice under section 15 of the 2006 Act has been given is not to be treated as having been required to pay an immigration penalty if—

(a) the person is excused payment by virtue of section 15(3) of that Act; or

Column number: 545 

(b) the penalty is cancelled by virtue of section 16 or 17 of that Act.

(4) For the purposes of this Part of this Act a person to whom a penalty notice under section 15 of the 2006 Act has been given is not to be treated as having been required to pay an immigration penalty until such time as—

(a) the period for giving a notice of objection under section 16 of that Act has expired and the Secretary of State has considered any notice given within that period; and

(b) if a notice of objection was given within that period, the period for appealing under section 17 of that Act has expired and any appeal brought within that period has been finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn.

(5) For the purposes of this Part of this Act a person to whom a penalty notice under section 23 of the 2014 Act has been given is not to be treated as having been required to pay an immigration penalty if—

(a) the person is excused payment by virtue of section 24 of that Act; or

(b) the penalty is cancelled by virtue of section 29 or 30 of that Act.

(6) For the purposes of this Part of this Act a person to whom a penalty notice under section 23 of the 2014 Act has been given is not to be treated as having been required to pay an immigration penalty until such time as—

(a) the period for giving a notice of objection under section 29 of that Act has expired and the Secretary of State has considered any notice given within that period; and

(b) if a notice of objection was given within that period, the period for appealing under section 30 of that Act has expired and any appeal brought within that period has been finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn.”

Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 (c. 34)

15 The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 is amended as follows.

16 In section 1(1) (meaning of “private hire vehicle” etc)—

(a) omit the “and” at the end of paragraph (a), and

(b) at the end of paragraph (b) insert “; and

(c) “operate”, in relation to a private hire vehicle, means to make provision for the invitation or acceptance of, or to accept, private hire bookings in relation to the vehicle.”

17 (1) Section 3 (London operator’s licences) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (3) for the “and” at the end of paragraph (a) substitute—

“(aa) if the applicant is an individual, the applicant is not disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from operating a private hire vehicle; and”

(3) After subsection (3) insert—

“(3A) In determining for the purposes of subsection (3) whether an applicant is disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from operating a private hire vehicle, the licensing authority must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.”

(4) In subsection (5) for “A” substitute “Subject to section 3A, a”.

18 After section 3 insert—

“3A London PHV operator’s licences for persons subject to immigration control

(1) Subsection (2) applies if—

(a) a London PHV operator’s licence is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period (“the leave period”);

Column number: 546 

(b) the person’s leave has not been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision); and

(c) apart from subsection (2), the period for which the licence would have been granted would have ended after the end of the leave period.

(2) The licence must be granted for a period which ends at or before the end of the leave period.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if—

(a) a London PHV operator’s licence is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period; and

(b) the person’s leave has been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision).

(4) The licence must be granted for a period which does not exceed six months.

(5) A London PHV operator’s licence ceases to be in force if the person to whom it was granted becomes disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from operating a private hire vehicle.

(6) If subsection (5) applies to a licence, the person to whom it was granted must, within the period of 7 days beginning with the day after the day on which the person first became disqualified, return it the licensing authority.

(7) A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes subsection (6) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction—

(a) to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale; and

(b) in the case of a continuing offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds for each day during which an offence continues after conviction.”

19 (1) Section 13 (London PHV driver’s licences) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2) for the “and” at the end of paragraph (a) substitute—

“(aa) the applicant is not disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from driving a private hire vehicle; and”

(3) After subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) In determining for the purposes of subsection (2) whether an applicant is disqualified by reason of the applicant’s immigration status from driving a private hire vehicle, the licensing authority must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.”

(4) In subsection (5) at the beginning of paragraph (c) insert “subject to section 13A,”.

20 After section 13 insert—

“13A London PHV driver’s licences for persons subject to immigration control

(1) Subsection (2) applies if—

(a) a London PHV driver’s licence is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period (“the leave period”);

(b) the person’s leave has not been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision); and

(c) apart from subsection (2), the period for which the licence would have been granted would have ended after the end of the leave period.

(2) The licence must be granted for a period which ends at or before the end of the leave period.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if—

(a) a London PHV driver’s licence is to be granted to a person who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom for a limited period; and

Column number: 547 

(b) the person’s leave has been extended by virtue of section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (continuation of leave pending variation decision).

(4) The licence must be granted for a period which does not exceed six months.

(5) A London PHV driver’s licence ceases to be in force if the person to whom it was granted becomes disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from driving a private hire vehicle.

(6) If subsection (5) applies to a licence, the person to whom it was granted must, within the period of 7 days beginning with the day after the day on which the person first became disqualified, return the licence and the person’s driver’s badge to the licensing authority.

(7) A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes subsection (6) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction—

(a) to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale; and

(b) in the case of a continuing offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds for each day during which an offence continues after conviction.”

21 (1) Section 16 (power to suspend or revoke licences) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2) before the “or” at the end of paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) the licence holder has, since the grant of the licence, been convicted of an immigration offence or required to pay an immigration penalty;”.

(3) In subsection (4) at the end of paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) the licence holder has, since the grant of the licence, been convicted of an immigration offence or required to pay an immigration penalty;”.

22 In section 25 (appeals) after subsection (7) insert—

“(8) On an appeal under this Act to the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court, the court is not entitled to entertain any question as to whether—

(a) a person should be, or should have been, granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom; or

(b) a person has, after the date of the decision being appealed against, been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.”

23 After section 35 insert—

“35A Persons disqualified by reason of immigration status

(1) For the purposes of this Act a person is disqualified by reason of the person’s immigration status from carrying on a licensable activity if the person is subject to immigration control and —

(a) the person has not been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom; or

(b) the person’s leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom—

(i) is invalid;

(ii) has ceased to have effect (whether by reason of curtailment, revocation, cancellation, passage of time or otherwise); or

(iii) is subject to a condition preventing the individual from carrying on the licensable activity.

(2) Where a person is on immigration bail within the meaning of Part 1 of Schedule 5 to the Immigration Act 2016—

(a) the person is to be treated for the purposes of this Part as if the person had been granted leave to enter the United Kingdom; but

(b) any condition as to the person’s work in the United Kingdom to which the person’s immigration bail is subject is to be treated for those purposes as a condition of leave.

(3) For the purposes of this section a person is subject to immigration control if under the Immigration Act 1971 the person requires leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.

(4) For the purposes of this section a person carries on a licensable activity if the person—

Column number: 548 

(a) operates a private hire vehicle; or

(b) drives a private hire vehicle.

35B Immigration offences and immigration penalties

(1) In this Act “immigration offence” means—

(a) an offence under any of the Immigration Acts;

(b) an offence under section 1 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 of attempting to commit an offence within paragraph (a); or

(c) an offence under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 of conspiracy to commit an offence within paragraph (a).

(2) In this Act “immigration penalty” means a penalty under—

(a) section 15 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”), or

(b) section 23 of the Immigration Act 2014 (“the 2014 Act”).

(3) For the purposes of this Act a person to whom a penalty notice under section 15 of the 2006 Act has been given is not to be treated as having been required to pay an immigration penalty if—

(a) the person is excused payment by virtue of section 15(3) of that Act; or

(b) the penalty is cancelled by virtue of section 16 or 17 of that Act.

(4) For the purposes of this Act a person to whom a penalty notice under section 15 of the 2006 Act has been given is not to be treated as having been required to pay an immigration penalty until such time as—

(a) the period for giving a notice of objection under section 16 of that Act has expired and the Secretary of State has considered any notice given within that period; and

(b) if a notice of objection was given within that period, the period for appealing under section 17 of that Act has expired and any appeal brought within that period has been finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn.

(5) For the purposes of this Act a person to whom a penalty notice under section 23 of the 2014 Act has been given is not to be treated as having been required to pay an immigration penalty if—

(a) the person is excused payment by virtue of section 24 of that Act; or

(b) the penalty is cancelled by virtue of section 29 or 30 of that Act.

(6) For the purposes of this Act a person to whom a penalty notice under section 23 of the 2014 Act has been given is not to be treated as having been required to pay an immigration penalty until such time as—

(a) the period for giving a notice of objection under section 29 of that Act has expired and the Secretary of State has considered any notice given within that period; and

(b) if a notice of objection was given within that period, the period for appealing under section 30 of that Act has expired and any appeal brought within that period has been finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn.”

24 In section 36 (interpretation) at the appropriate place insert—

““operate” has the meaning given in section 1(1);”.” (James Brokenshire.)

This amendment amends the licensing regimes for taxis and private hire vehicles in England and Wales to prevent illegal working in these sectors. It includes the addition of requirements for licence grant to be conditional on leave and for licence length to be limited by a person’s leave duration.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

Column number: 549 

New Schedule 2 

Duty to supply nationality documents to Secretary of State: persons to whom duty applies Persons to whom section 20A applies 

1 This is the new Schedule A1 to the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 referred to in section (Supply of information to Secretary of State)—

“Schedule A1 
Persons to whom section 20A applies 

Law enforcement

1 The chief officer of police for a police area in England and Wales.

2 The chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland.

3 The Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

4 The Chief Constable of the British Transport Police Force.

5 A Port Police Force established under an order made under section 14 of the Harbours Act 1964.

6 The Port Police Force established under Part 10 of the Port of London Act 1968.

7 A Port Police Force established under section 79 of the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847.

8 The National Crime Agency.

Local government

9 A county council or district council in England.

10 A London borough council.

11 The Greater London Authority.

12 The Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a local authority.

13 The Council of the Isles of Scilly.

14 A county council or a county borough council in Wales.

15 A council constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc (Scotland) Act 1994.

16 A district council in Northern Ireland.

Regulatory bodies

17 The Gangmasters Licensing Authority.

18 The Security Industry Authority.

Health bodies

19 An NHS trust established under section 25 of the National Health Service Act 2006 or under section 18 of the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006.

20 An NHS foundation trust within the meaning given by section 30 of the National Health Service Act 2006.

21 A Local Health Board established under section 11 of the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006.

22 A National Health Service Trust established under section 12A of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978.

23 A Health and Social Care trust established under Article 10 of the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1991 (SI 1991/194 (NI 1)).

Registration officials

24 The Registrar General for England and Wales.

25 A superintendent registrar of births, deaths and marriages.

26 A registrar of births, deaths and marriages.

27 A civil partnership registrar within the meaning of Chapter 1 of Part 2 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (see section 29 of that Act).

28 The Registrar General for Scotland.

29 A district registrar within the meaning of section 7 of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965.

30 A senior registrar within the meaning of that section.

31 An assistant registrar within the meaning of that section.

32 The Registrar General for Northern Ireland.

33 A person appointed under Article 31(1) or (3) of the Marriage (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 (SI 2003/413 (NI 3)).

34 A person appointed under section 152(1) or (3) of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Other bodies: Northern Ireland

35 The Northern Ireland Housing Executive.” —(James Brokenshire.)

Column number: 550 

This amendment inserts a new Schedule A1 into the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 listing the bodies which are subject to the duty to provide nationality documents to the Secretary of State under the new section 20A for that Act (see NC15).

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.  

New Schedule 3 

Availability of local authority support 

1 Schedule 3 to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 (withholding and withdrawal of support) is amended as follows.

2 (1) Paragraph 1 (ineligibility for support) is amended as follows.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1) (excluded support or assistance) after paragraph (g) insert—

(ga) in relation only to a person to whom this paragraph applies by virtue of paragraph 7B—

(i) section 23CZA of that Act (arrangements for certain former relevant children to continue to live with former foster parents), or

(ii) regulations under section 23D of that Act (personal advisers),”.

(3) After sub-paragraph (2) insert—

“(2A) In the case of the provisions referred to in sub-paragraph (1)(ga), sub-paragraph (2) applies only in relation to a person to whom this paragraph applies by virtue of paragraph 7B.”

3 (1) Paragraph 2(1) (exceptions) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph (c) for “or 10” substitute “, 10, 10A or 10B”.

(3) After the “or” at the end of paragraph (c) insert—

(ca) under section 95A or 98A of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (support for failed asylum seekers etc), or”.

4 After paragraph 3 insert—

3A Notwithstanding paragraph 3, paragraph 1(1)(g) prevents a local authority in England from providing support or assistance under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 to a person in respect of a child if —

(a) the support or assistance is of a type that could be provided to the person by virtue of paragraph 10A (see paragraph 10A(7)), and

(b) support is being provided to the person by virtue of paragraph 10A or there are reasonable grounds for believing that support will be provided to the person by virtue of that paragraph.

3B Notwithstanding paragraph 3, paragraph 1(1)(g) prevents a local authority in England from providing support or assistance under section 23C, 23CA, 24A or 24B of the Children Act 1989 to a person if—

(a) support is being provided to the person by virtue of paragraph 10B or section 95A of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, or

(b) there are reasonable grounds for believing that support will be provided to the person by virtue of that paragraph or section.

3C Notwithstanding paragraph 3, paragraph 1(1)(ga) prevents a local authority in England from providing support or assistance under a provision mentioned in paragraph (ga) to a person if—

(a) support is being provided to the person by virtue of paragraph 10B or section 95A of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, or

(b) there are reasonable grounds for believing that support will be provided to the person by virtue of that paragraph or section.”

5 In paragraph 6 (third class of ineligible person: failed asylum-seeker), in sub-paragraph (1), in the words before sub-paragraph (a), after “person” insert “in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland”.

6 In paragraph 7 (fourth class of ineligible person: person unlawfully in United Kingdom), in the words before sub-paragraph (a), after “person” insert “in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland”.

Column number: 551 

7 Before paragraph 8 insert—

“Sixth class of ineligible person: person in England without leave to enter or remain

7B (1) Paragraph 1 applies to a person in England if—

(a) under the Immigration Act 1971, he requires leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom but does not have it, and

(b) he is not an asylum-seeker.

(2) Paragraph 1 also applies to a dependant of a person to whom that paragraph applies by virtue of sub-paragraph (1).”

8 After paragraph 10 insert—

“Accommodation and subsistence etc: England

10A (1) The Secretary of State may make regulations providing for arrangements to be made for support to be provided to a person to whom paragraph 1 applies by virtue of paragraph 7B(1) and—

(a) who is destitute,

(b) who has with him a dependent child,

(c) to whom section 95A of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 does not apply, and

(d) in relation to whom condition A, B, C or D is satisfied.

(2) Condition A is that—

(a) the person has made an application for leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom and has not withdrawn the application,

(b) where regulations under this paragraph require that the application must be of a kind specified in the regulations for this condition to be satisfied, the application is of that kind, and

(c) the application has not been determined.

(3) Condition B is that—

(a) the person has appealed under section 82(1), and

(b) the appeal is pending within the meaning of section 104.

(4) Condition C is that—

(a) the person’s appeal rights are exhausted, and

(b) he has not failed to cooperate with arrangements that would enable him to leave the United Kingdom.

(5) Condition D is that the provision of support is necessary to safeguard and promote the welfare of a dependent child.

(6) Arrangements for a person by virtue of this paragraph may include arrangements for a dependant.

(7) The support that may be provided under arrangements by virtue of this paragraph may take the form of —

(a) accommodation;

(b) subsistence in kind, or cash or vouchers to pay for subsistence.

(8) Subsections (3) to (8) of section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (meaning of “destitute”) apply for the purposes of this paragraph as they apply for the purposes of that section.

(9) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (2) regulations under this paragraph may provide for circumstances in which—

(a) a person is to be treated as having made an application for leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom (despite not having made one);

(b) a person is to be treated as not having made such an application where the Secretary of State is satisfied that the application made is vexatious or wholly without merit.

(10) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (4) a person’s appeal rights are exhausted at the time when—

(a) he could not bring an appeal under section 82 (ignoring any possibility of an appeal out of time with permission), and

(b) no appeal brought by him is pending within the meaning of section 104.

Column number: 552 

10B (1) The Secretary of State may make regulations providing for arrangements to be made for support to be provided to a person to whom paragraph 1 applies by virtue of paragraph 7B(1) and—

(a) who is a former relevant child within the meaning of section 23C of the Children Act 1989,

(b) to whom section 95A of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 does not apply, and

(c) in relation to whom condition A, B or C is satisfied.

(2) Condition A is that—

(a) the person is destitute,

(b) the person has made an application for leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom and has not withdrawn the application,

(c) where regulations under this paragraph require that the application must be of a kind specified in the regulations for this condition to be satisfied, the application is of that kind, and

(d) the application has not been determined.

(3) Condition B is that—

(a) the person is destitute,

(b) the person has appealed under section 82(1), and

(c) the appeal is pending within the meaning of section 104.

(4) Condition C is that—

(a) the person’s appeal rights are exhausted, and

(b) a person specified in regulations under this paragraph is satisfied that support needs to be provided to the person.

(5) The support that may be provided under arrangements by virtue of this paragraph may, in particular, take the form of —

(a) accommodation;

(b) subsistence in kind, or cash or vouchers to pay for subsistence.

(6) Subsections (3) to (8) of section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (meaning of “destitute”) apply for the purposes of this paragraph as they apply for the purposes of that section.

(7) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (3) regulations under this paragraph may provide for circumstances in which—

(a) a person is to be treated as having made an application for leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom (despite not having made one);

(b) a person is to be treated as not having made such an application where the Secretary of State is satisfied that the application made is vexatious or wholly without merit.

(8) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (5) a person’s appeal rights are exhausted at the time when—

(a) he could not bring an appeal under section 82 (ignoring any possibility of an appeal out of time with permission), and

(b) no appeal brought by him is pending within the meaning of section 104.”

9 In paragraph 11 (assistance and accommodation: general), in the words before sub-paragraph (a), for “or 10” substitute “, 10, 10A or 10B”.

10 In paragraph 13 (offences), in sub-paragraphs (1)(b) and (2)(a), for “or 10” substitute “, 10, 10A or 10B”.

11 In paragraph 14 (information), in sub-paragraphs (1) and (2), for “or 7” (as substituted by paragraph 25(8)(b) of Schedule 6) substitute “, 7 or 7B”.” —(James Brokenshire.)

This new Schedule simplifies the basis on which local authorities in England assess and provide accommodation and subsistence for destitute families without immigration status. It prevents adult migrant care leavers who have exhausted their appeal rights accessing Children Act support and provides for their pre-departure support.

Brought up, and read the First time.  

Column number: 553 

Question put, That the schedule be read a Second time. 

The Committee divided: Ayes 8, Noes 6. 

Division No. 34 ]  

AYES

Brokenshire, rh James   

Buckland, Robert   

Davies, Mims   

Elphicke, Charlie   

Harris, Rebecca   

Hoare, Simon   

Smith, Chloe   

Whittaker, Craig   

NOES

Champion, Sarah   

Hayman, Sue   

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma   

McLaughlin, Anne   

Newlands, Gavin   

Starmer, Keir   

Question accordingly agreed to.  

New schedule 3 read a Second time, and added to the Bill.  

Clause 51 ordered to stand part of the Bill.  

Sarah Champion:  On a point of order, Mr Owen. May I have clarity on when amendment 70 will be considered? 

The Chair:  We will come to it shortly. 

The Lord Commissioner of Her Majesty's Treasury (Charlie Elphicke):  Further to that point of order, Mr Owen. I also seek clarification. I understand, though I stand to be corrected, that amendment 70 is on the table. I am not sure, however, about whether amendments 221 and 77 are on the table as well. 

The Chair:  When we come to clause 54, amendment 221 can be moved formally at that point. That will be followed by amendment 70. Ms Champion, are you happy with that? 

Sarah Champion:  Happy? I am delighted. 

Clause 52 ordered to stand part of the Bill.  

Clause 53 

Regulations 

Amendments made: 37, in clause 53, page 44, line 15, after “State” insert 

‘or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster’. 

Part 7 of the Bill currently requires the Secretary of State or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to prepare a code of practice in respect of the English language requirement for public sector workers. The code comes into force in accordance with regulations. This amendment and amendments 38 and 39 ensure that clause 53 applies to regulations made by either the Secretary of State or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster under Part 7.

Amendment 245, in clause 53, page 44, line 23, at end insert 

‘() regulations under section (Private hire vehicles etc)(2),’.

This amendment provides for regulations making provision regarding taxis and private hire vehicles in Scotland and Northern Ireland to be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Amendment 38, in clause 53, page 44, line 39, after “State” insert 

‘or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster’. 

See the explanatory statement for amendment 37.

Column number: 554 

Amendment 39, in clause 53, page 44, line 42, after “State” insert 

‘or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster’.—(James Brokenshire.)  

See the explanatory statement for amendment 37.

Clause 53, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill .  

Clause 54 

Commencement 

The Chair:  Amendment 221 is to be moved formally. 

Keir Starmer:  To clarify, Mr Owen, I will not move amendments 221 and 77, but I will move amendment 70. 

Amendment proposed: 70, in clause 54, page 45, line 11, at end insert 

‘(4A) Section 12 shall not come into force before 1 January 2018.’. —(Keir Starmer.)

This amendment would defer the implementation of Clause 12 until January 2018.

Question put, That the amendment be made. 

The Committee proceeded to a Division.  

The Chair:  The ayes were six and the noes were eight, so the ayes have it—I beg your pardon, the noes have it.  

The Committee having divided: Ayes 6, Noes 8. 

Division No. 35 ]  

AYES

Champion, Sarah   

Hayman, Sue   

Lewell-Buck, Mrs Emma   

McLaughlin, Anne   

Newlands, Gavin   

Starmer, Keir   

NOES

Brokenshire, rh James   

Buckland, Robert   

Davies, Mims   

Elphicke, Charlie   

Harris, Rebecca   

Hoare, Simon   

Smith, Chloe   

Whittaker, Craig   

Question accordingly negatived.  

Clause 54 ordered to stand part of the Bill.  

Clause s 55 and 56 ordered to stand part of the Bill.  

Question proposed, That the Chair do report the Bill, as amended, to the House. 

James Brokenshire:  On a point of order, Mr Owen, before we reach the formal conclusion of the Committee with the final motion for our consideration, I very much thank you and your co-Chair, Mr Bone, for the manner in which you have chaired our deliberations. At times you have provided us with sage advice on procedure and the conduct of our consideration of the Bill, so I thank both of you for the exemplary way in which you fulfilled your duties. You will have been ably assisted by the Clerks in so doing, so on behalf of the Committee I underline our thanks to them and all the officials. That support has ensured that our proceedings have always been in order and that we have conducted our business appropriately, so I extend those thanks. 

I also extend thanks to the officers of the Official Report. They have ensured that our words have been faithfully replicated. Those who will consider the Bill as it passes to Report and onwards will know that our

Column number: 555 
deliberations and debates have been appropriately and faithfully recorded. I also thank the Doorkeepers and all those who have kept us safe and secure throughout our consideration of the Bill. 

On the Government side, I thank my officials and the Bill team for all the support they have provided to me and the Solicitor General during our debates and discussions. I also thank the parliamentary draftsmen for the expert advice that that team has given in the preparation and drafting of the Bill, as well as on some of the more technical amendments that we have laid. I also thank the Solicitor General for the support that he has given, for all his sage interventions and for leading on particular parts of the Bill. 

I also thank the Whip, my hon. Friend the Member for Dover, for always ensuring that we are conducting our proceedings appropriately and for moving to adjourn at the end of the day. I also thank my Parliamentary Private Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley, for his support, and all Members on the Government side. 

11 am 

We have had a good debate. At times it has been quite passionate, but it has been conducted in a measured way which does credit to this Committee. Yes, we have had differences at times, but the process has added to the scrutiny of this legislation. Therefore, in conclusion, I thank all members of the Committee for their questions, for their debates and for the manner in which they have conducted our proceedings. This has been a very positive and helpful Committee and one that we can all look back on as adding to parliamentary scrutiny and consideration of the Bill as it moves to its next stage. 

Keir Starmer:  On a point of order, Mr Owen, I join the Minister in thanking so many members of the teams. In particular, I thank you and Mr Bone, for chairing these proceedings. It has been invaluable to me, in particular, going through such a process for the first time, and has ensured that we have got through quite difficult, technical business in an efficient way which has provided the safeguards that this process is intended to provide. We are all very grateful for that. 

I extend my gratitude to the Clerks, who have helped not only in the proceedings themselves but in the preparation as well, and have ensured that we have gone through this process in the best possible way, and to all the support staff, in whatever capacity, both in this Room and sitting behind both teams. The support may be different and perhaps more luxurious on the other side, but that support is vital for both sides, to enable issues to be untangled where they can be untangled quickly and to allow probing, testing and challenge. The process has been useful. 

I have had some difficult briefs in my time. In terms of the likelihood of ever winning a single vote, this goes down as one of the most difficult. I thought for one brief moment that we might just have sealed one vote a moment ago, but that was not to be. That is a reflection on the process, but I thank the Minister and the Solicitor General for the way they have dealt with our questions,

Column number: 556 
the information they have provided and the assurances they have given on issues that are of real concern, not only in the Committee but to many people outside who will be affected by the Bill. They have willingly written or put on the record their position where they have agreed to meet our concerns, and we are grateful for that. 

Perhaps we should add our thanks to the witnesses who came and gave their time and their evidence to the Committee, both orally and in writing. 

Anne McLaughlin:  On a point of order, Mr Owen, I am beginning to feel a bit sorry for Mr Bone, because this is twice you have had this. Perhaps you have engineered it this way. I add my thanks, on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North and myself, to everyone involved. This is obviously our first time on a Public Bill Committee. I was a Member of the Scottish Parliament for two years, but I never served on a Bill Committee. I was on the Audit Committee and the Petitions Committee, so this is completely new to me. As well as the Clerks, colleagues in the Labour party have been so helpful and generous. Our own researchers have been really good. 

I will always remember my first experience on a Bill Committee as being a little like ceilidh dancing in that you work out exactly what you are doing just as the music stops. I am desperate for my next Bill Committee, because it has all now clicked into place. 

It is not often that I have anything positive to say about Members on the Government Benches. [Hon. Members: “Oh!] They bring it on themselves. While the entire Bill is wrong and everything they said is wrong, the way in which it was said was respectful and the responses were comprehensive. While I completely disagree with everything that is being done, I thank Government Members, particularly the two Ministers. It was helpful and useful to have them here, and everything was done respectfully. However, I was worried when the Minister for Immigration said that it had been a measured debate, because I feel like I have not done my job properly. 

Finally, I thank all the stakeholders and witnesses, who were incredible. I have read some of the really interesting evidence again, and they advised us and suggested amendments and taught me so much. I am looking forward to my next Bill Committee because of my experience here. I just want to thank everyone again and to thank my mum. I will sit down now. 

The Chair:  I am grateful. The last three contributions are known as bogus points of order, but they have been accepted and will be recorded because they were so eloquent. I want to echo what has been said and to say that we deal with serious matters in such Committees, but we have done so in a way that is a credit to Parliament. I am grateful to both Front-Bench and Back-Bench Members for their contributions. I also want to single out the Clerks for their excellent preparatory work before our meetings. 

Question put and agreed to.  

Bill, as amended, accordingly to be reported.  

11.7 am 

Committee rose.  

Column number: 557 
Written evidence reported to the House

IB 39 Hansen Palomares Solicitors 

IB 40 British Medical Association further submission 

IB 41 Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) 

IB 42 Letter from the Solicitor General concerning clause 31 - legal aid for judicial review 

IB 43 Oxford Against Slavery 

IB 44 Letter from the Home Office on support for certain categories of migrant 

IB 45 René Cassin 

IB 46 Association of Labour Providers 

Column number: 558 

IB 47 Office of the City Remembrancer, City of London Corporation 

IB 48 British Retail Consortium (BRC) 

IB 49 Frances Macfarlane 

IB 50 Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), the No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) Network and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) 

IB 51 Letter from the Home Office to the Residential Landlords Association 

IB 52 Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group 

Prepared 18th November 2015