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The Lord Bishop of Ripon: Before the noble Lord sits down, in the interests of making the Bill clear to the meanest of intelligence, I wonder whether he could explain to this particular person of mean intelligence the practical difference between "deportation" and "removal".

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I take the point raised by the right reverend Prelate. It still means that one would have to leave the jurisdiction. We propose, under Clauses 7 and 8, that those who have been in this country a long time in the circumstances specified can apply, should they wish, by virtue of Clause 7, to have the arrangements regularised. If those arrangements are not regularised, there can be an administrative removal. So, we shall have a scheme of administrative removal, but I stress that those in the circumstances posited by the noble Earl retain their rights to appeal.

Baroness Williams of Crosby: I am grateful to the noble Lord for his response to Amendment No. 22. I sometimes understand better than I usually do why

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people in his profession are so highly paid; it takes an extraordinarily brilliant mind to grasp some of the language which he used in response. I shall have to ponder it further for much longer than he requires. However, if I have interpreted it rightly, we shall carefully consider the possibility of putting in an amendment at Report which more satisfactorily meets the problems that he has rightly outlined.

Lord Dholakia: I am grateful to the noble Lord for his explanation. He does not normally give anything at all, but makes you feel that you have scored a victory; and that seems to be the case here. I shall look at Hansard to see whether I can tie him up at Report stage. I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 20A.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 21:


Page 5, line 28, leave out ("which has not been determined").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 22 not moved.]

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendments Nos. 23 and 24:


Page 5, line 40, leave out ("given").
Page 5, line 40, after ("section") insert ("--
( ) may be given only to persons falling within a prescribed class;").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 25 not moved.]

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 26:


Page 6, line 3, at end insert--
("( ) The costs of complying with a direction given under this section (so far as reasonably incurred) must be met by the Secretary of State.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

On Question, whether Clause 8 (as amended) stand part of the Bill.

6.45 p.m.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: I hesitate to use the word "bamboozle" but some of the explanations come close to the use of that word. For example, the right reverend Prelate asked about the difference between administrative removal and deportation. The noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, might agree that in common parlance "there ain't no difference"; if you are chucked out of the country, it does not matter whether it is called deportation or administrative removal; it comes to the same grievous outcome.

In all its complexity there is one simple unrelieved truth about the change that is being made, and that is that whereas at present those who have been here for more than seven years had a right of independent appeal, that right is removed, and the only right that replaces it is for those who make their appeal within six months of their overstay. Many noble Lords will understand that while that sounds fine and dandy, the reality

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for immigrants and the extraordinarily unsatisfactory circumstances in which many of them find themselves, is that they will not be able to exercise that right of appeal within that time. There will be very many hard and unfair cases. I remain dissatisfied and disappointed that the Government appear to be making no concession on the central point.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My views on Clause 8 differ from those of the noble Lord. The explanatory notes state:


    "In parallel with the reform of the immigration and asylum appeals system, the White Paper announced that in future, anyone who had been lawfully in the United Kingdom but who no longer had any entitlement to remain would normally be subject to administrative removal rather than deportation."

I understood that administrative removal was a fairly simple matter and that it did not require a court procedure and subsequent deportation. Can the Minister say whether I am correct in that view?

I have received a letter from the Minister which appeared to answer the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Phillips. It dealt with the issue of how people who have been here for a long time might miss out on their right of appeal. I understood the Minister to be saying that there would be a well-publicised time period given to people who had been here longer in which they could appeal. The answer in the letter was very satisfactory, and Clause 7 does cover that point, but I would welcome clarification.

My concern about Clause 8 is that there seemed to be some confusion in the debate on the recent amendments. Clause 8 does not relate specifically to asylum seekers because they already have rights of appeal. Various local authorities have asked me to inquire about the people who have gone through every stage of every appeal and yet are still being funded by the local authorities. Those authorities are reimbursed by the Government at a different rate, and therefore the council tax payers are paying for it. Many of these people are still occupying council accommodation that is desperately needed for other new applicants.

I do not understand where those people fit in, especially those who have been through all the appeal procedures, possibly over many years. That is why I asked the following question, which the Minister did not answer. If someone has been here for eight or 10 years over the seven year period referred to in Amendment No. 22, would that cover them, even though their appeals had failed and they had been adjudged not to be entitled to remain in this country? Are those people classified as overstayers? Why are the Government not addressing those circumstances?

Lord Renton: I have listened patiently to the discussions on Clauses 7 and 8. I am very surprised that the noble Lord should wish to omit Clause 8.

We should bear in mind that in the 12 months ending 31st May, over 80,000 people have been granted leave to remain here as immigrants or been granted asylum. The exact figures given by the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, in answer to a question I

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tabled for written answer, provided the detail: 67,900 have been granted indefinite leave to remain; those recognised as refugees and granted asylum were 5,560; those who were refused asylum but granted exceptional leave to remain were 3,220; and then there was a backlog of 3,910. That is a total of over 80,000 people in 12 months.

I ask the noble Lords, whom I respect for their humanitarian and Christian aims that we all share, to bear in mind that we owe it to the people already in this country to be very careful about this matter. The more people we have here, the more unemployment and poverty there will be. The more people we have here, the lower will be the average standard of living, and the greater strain on our social services and greater congestion in urban areas.

We should not overlook those facts when we are debating these matters. Bearing those factors in mind, I hope that Clause 8 will be allowed to stand as part of the Bill. I could make the same speech in relation to the next two clauses but do not propose to do so.

The Lord Bishop of Ripon: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Renton, for giving way. With the greatest possible respect to him--I have the highest admiration for him--does he not accept that many of those who receive asylum in this country, far from being people who finish up in the inner cities, are among the highly intelligent members of our community? Far from being a drain on our economic resources, they will prove to be considerable assets to them.

Lord Renton: That is a matter of opinion and must vary from person to person. But we know that many of those who come to this country cannot even speak our language.

The world has become an even more distressing place for people to live and the pressures upon the Government of this country, whatever their complexion, to receive more asylum seekers has grown and may continue to grow. But our first duty is to the people of this country. We must use a sensible discretion in that regard. The Government should be supported in their efforts to amend the law in ways which achieve justice and we must not press them to relax the law to such an extent that people--for example, those covered by Clauses 7 and 8--are allowed in when they perhaps should not be.

Lord Alton of Liverpool: The noble Lord, Lord Renton, reminded us of our first duty, but it is not our only duty. We have a duty to ensure that whatever legal arrangements we introduce are fair and do not discriminate.

We also have a duty to reflect on the overall contribution which immigrants and asylum seekers have made and continue to make to this country over many generations. Though it is true that some people will abuse the system, that is also true of our nationals. To make too much of this argument could almost lead to the scapegoating of immigrants and asylum seekers. Having represented an inner city community for 25 years at one level or another, I was conscious of the positive

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contribution which many immigrants and asylum seekers made to that community, not least in the creation of employment for many of our nationals. It is also interesting that the last time I looked, more people left the United Kingdom than came into it. So we should not over-exaggerate this point. It could lead to some people taking out of context the comments made quite rightly by the noble Lord in Committee, and using them against those communities.


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