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Lord Avebury: My Lords, subsection (2)(c) of the new clause contains Henry VIII powers. Does the Minister have it in mind that there may be parts of the Bill that either violate European Community law or contravene directives that may be imposed subsequently under the European Union's programme for establishing common policies on immigration and asylum? Does the Minister feel that the coming into force of such directives will require new primary legislation in the United Kingdom? If so, will he ensure that the next immigration legislation is consolidating legislation, bearing in mind that there have already been attempts to consolidate part of immigration law at an earlier stage of this Bill? Although those were not successful, there is a general feeling that, if we go on adding statute on to statute and order on to order, immigration law will become extremely difficult to interpret.

The Minister may be contemplating the eventuality that UK law will conflict with some provision of Community law, but could it not be struck down by the courts? Why do the Government need the Henry VIII power? In answering that question, could the Minister say why the Government feel that it is necessary only in respect of Part 5 of the Bill? The draft directives that are to be published by the European Union will cover a wide range of asylum and immigration issues, including support provisions and provisions in other parts of the Bill that may also turn out not to be compatible with EU law.

Lord Filkin: My Lords, I shall answer first the question asked by the noble Earl, Lord Russell. EU nationals are free to come and work in the United Kingdom; they have no need to claim asylum here.

The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, asked about the directives that are under discussion. I recollect that they are the reception directive and the qualification directive. They are not yet finalised. I think that the final date for the negotiations is probably next summer. It is hard, therefore, to give a definitive

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answer until we see exactly what they say. My recollection of them is such that I do not expect any incongruity with UK law. It is unlikely that we will need primary legislation to bring them into being, although that view is subject to the final shape of the directives. We will keep the House aware, through the scrutiny processes, of how the negotiations are progressing.

Earl Russell: My Lords, the Minister is right to say that EU nationals have the right to claim work and, therefore, need not claim asylum. Given that, are all the provisions that we have just been asked to pass, denying claims for asylum from people from countries that are about to be admitted to the EU, entirely redundant?

Lord Filkin: My Lords, I shall venture the answer "no". I do not think that there is an exact congruity between EU nationals and EEA nationals. Therefore, there is a need for the law that we are putting through to address the position of people from EEA countries that are not members of the European Union.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 103:


    After Clause 107, insert the following new clause—


"MONITOR OF CERTIFICATION OF CLAIMS AS UNFOUNDED
(1) The Secretary of State shall appoint a person to monitor the use of the powers under sections 92(2) and 111(1).
(2) The person appointed under this section shall make a report to the Secretary of State—
(a) once in each calendar year, and
(b) on such occasions as the Secretary of State may request.
(3) Where the Secretary of State receives a report under subsection (2)(a) he shall lay a copy before Parliament as soon as is reasonably practicable.
(4) The person appointed under this section shall hold and vacate office in accordance with the terms of his appointment (which may include provision about retirement, resignation or dismissal).
(5) The Secretary of State may—
(a) pay fees and allowances to the person appointed under this section;
(b) defray expenses of the person appointed under this section.
(6) A person who is employed within a government department may not be appointed under this section."

[Amendment No. 103A, as an amendment to Amendment No. 103, not moved.]

On Question, Amendment No. 103 agreed to.

Clause 111 [Appeal from within United Kingdom: unfounded human rights or asylum claim: transitional provision]:

Lord Filkin moved Amendment No. 104:


    Page 62, line 24, at end insert—


"( ) In this section "asylum claim" and "human rights claim" have the meanings given by section 109 but—
(a) a reference to a claim in that section shall be treated as including a reference to an allegation, and
(b) a reference in that section to making a claim at a place designated by the Secretary of State shall be ignored."

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns moved Amendment No. 105:


    After Clause 113, insert the following new clause—


"IMMIGRATION PROCEDURE AND WAITING TIMES: ANNUAL REPORT BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE
(1) The Secretary of State shall make an annual report to Parliament detailing the measures taken and proposed to improve procedure and reduce waiting times in immigration applications and appeals.
(2) The report shall include details of outcomes relating to any targets agreed or set by the Secretary of State in respect of such applications and appeals."

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I tabled the amendment in order to clarify and to resolve some remaining uncertainties following the debate in Committee late in the evening on 17th July. And here we are late again. The purpose of my amendment is to require the Secretary of State to make an annual report to Parliament on his targets and measures to improve immigration procedures. The Bill calls itself a Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill, but there seems precious little in it on immigration as such.

It seems appalling that students and those coming for permanent settlement find years of their lives blighted through bureaucratic delay and sometimes, sadly, by incompetence. A trawl through parliamentary Written Answers shows that although there are targets for entry clearance officers, they are not monitored properly. Worse still, there are no targets for, let alone monitoring of, how long an explanatory statement should remain in the Home Office.

There is no doubt that the system is in disarray. I will not at Third Reading repeat the arguments I put in Committee. However, the Government's answer to the amendment I tabled on that occasion was simply that if we all looked hard enough in enough places we could find the information we needed, particularly if we wanted to look in the Home Office's glossy annual report.

I took time during the Summer Recess and subsequently to check with outside bodies which kindly advise your Lordships on these matters and I am assured that they do not believe that the situation accords with what the Minister said. The information is not in a co-ordinated place and in a proper way to be presented to Parliament whereby Ministers can be held properly accountable.

My amendment gives Parliament the important opportunity to scrutinise the proposals in the correct manner. I beg to move.

Lord Dholakia: My Lords, we support the amendment. Only a few months ago the Home Secretary had to have figures counted by hand in order to determine a number of applications and so forth. Parliament has a right to know precisely what is happening in this area of work and the amendment

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takes that into account. The more reliable the information we have, the better informed we will be and the better the discussions will be.

Earl Russell: My Lords, I, too, want to add a few words in support of the amendment. I was once at my seminar listening to a guest of one of the speakers. She was a highly successful Canadian businesswoman who had arrived here with one minor irregularity in her papers. She was here on business which might have resulted in a fairly substantial export order to our benefit. She was put straight back on the plane to Toronto. She told me that under no circumstances whatever would her firm bring any further business to Britain.

There are too many such cases and I do not believe that they are to our advantage.

Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: My Lords, I rise not always having been in total agreement with my noble friends on the Front Bench whose conduct of our side of the debate has been exemplary. It is therefore a particular pleasure to say how much I support them on this issue.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, it sometimes seems that if we are stuck for an amendment we call for an annual report. This one comes up as a bit of a hardy perennial, or perhaps a hardy annual.

The amendment would require the Secretary of State to produce to Parliament a specific annual report, but this report would include information which is already, in our view, reported in a number of formats. The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, quite rightly anticipated my response.

It is perhaps worth detailing what we publish and where these data are. The Home Office annual report publishes the high level targets on immigration and other areas. Aim 6 for the Immigration and Nationality Directorate is to regulate effectively entry to and settlement in the UK in the interests of sustainable growth and social inclusion.

The report details the public service agreement targets, which include ensuring that, by 2004, 75 per cent of substantive asylum applications are decided within two months. The report also details IND's objectives under Aim 6, its performance measures, targets, milestones and the latest out-turn figures. The IND produces an annual business plan, which looks ahead, reviews and reports on proposed measures for improving procedures. It also reports on the objectives and targets for the year and reviews performance against targets for the previous year.

In addition, the IND produces an annual report, the main emphasis of which is comparing performance against targets for the past financial year. It also sets out targets for future years. The IND and the LCD are working together with the Treasury on a single asylum

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budget, which will increase the effectiveness of the overall asylum process and the reporting of it.

So it is all there; the material sought is already in the public domain in an accessible format. I congratulate the noble Baroness on carrying out her researches in the summer, but this would be an unnecessary duplication of something that has already been achieved and would serve no additional good purpose. Sympathetic though we are to ensuring that accountability is reinforced through a series of annual reports, we feel that we are already hitting our own targets on those issues.


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