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19 Sept 2002 : Column 12Wcontinued
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigration cases are awaiting allocation to a case worker following receipt of application documents; for how many years the largest outstanding case has been waiting; and how many are from addresses in Beckenham constituency. 
Beverley Hughes: I regret that the information requested is not available. We aim to decide 70 per cent. of all new general immigration applications on initial consideration within three weeks. At present such applications are taking on average around four weeks to decide but we are working to reduce this to three weeks as soon as possible. Applications that cannot be decided on initial consideration are allocated to a case management unit for further consideration. Some of these applications are, at present, taking up to 12 months to consider due to the large number of cases currently in the system. It is not possible to identify applications from addresses in Beckenham without scrutiny of individual case files at disproportionate cost.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deaths resulted from the failure of police and fire services to arrive at their destinations (a) on the day of the recent London Underground strike and (b) the same date in the previous year. 
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Mr. Denham: Voluntary arrangements for the declaration of freemasonry membership have been established for the police, the judiciary and other parts of the criminal justice system. The Government have made no decisions about the format of and arrangements for public access to any registers.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officers in (a) the Metropolitan Police, (b) Leicestershire Police and (c) Nottinghamshire Police have declared themselves to be Freemasons. 
Mr. Denham: A voluntary survey of freemasonry membership was conducted by forces in 1999. From information provided by forces, the response rate was 34.4 per cent. in the Metropolitan Police Service and 35.1 per cent. in Leicestershire. This includes officers, support
19 Sept 2002 : Column 14W
staff and special constables in both forces. Of those individuals who responded, 1.83 per cent. in the Metropolitan Police Service and 0.71 per cent. in Leicestershire declared that they were members of the freemasons.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign students have received visas to enter the UK to work as seasonal workers in agriculture in each of the last five years, broken down by nation and region. 
Beverley Hughes: The available information relates to the total number of persons who have been granted leave to enter the United Kingdom on the Seasonal Agricultural Scheme. Scheme participants must be students in full-time education and aged between 1825.
|United Kingdom||Number of Persons|
|Other former USSR||70||140||150||210||420|
|Other former Yugoslavia||30||50||80||140||120|
|Trinidad and Tobago|||||||||||
|Congo Democratic Republic||||||¡|||||
|TOTAL INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT||¡||¡||¡||10||¡|
|Other Middle East||¡||¡||¡|||||
|Hong Kong BDTC/BN(O)|||||||||||
|Hong Kong Stateless|||||||||||
|British Overseas Citizens|||||||||||
|All Nationalities (EXL-EEA)||5,550||9,280||9,450||9,760||10,100|
(1)All figures rounded to the nearest 10, or if above 1000 to the nearest 3 significant figures.
¡ 5 or less
19 Sept 2002 : Column 15W
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what regulations are in force relating to (a) the employment of foreign students as seasonal workers in agriculture, (b) the standards of welfare and accommodation provided for foreign students employed as seasonal workers in agriculture and (c) remuneration of foreign students employed as seasonal workers in agriculture; 
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19 Sept 2002 : Column 17W
A Code of Practice sets out the obligations of all those involved. The recruitment of workers is the responsibility of the operators. Operators must ensure that farmers provide suitable accommodation and access to recreational activities, such as the opportunity to learn English. Operators are also responsible for ensuring that farmers adhere to minimum pay regulations set out by the Agricultural Wages Board. The Board cannot set a minimum rate that is below the National Minimum Wage. Operators may withdraw workers mid-season and exclude farmers from the scheme if they do not provide suitable pay and accommodation.
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