16. PROPOSALS RELATING TO TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
AND RESIDENCE PERMITS (11362/97, 11602/97 AND 11748/97)
Letter from Lord Tordoff, Chairman of
the Committee, to the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, Secretary of State
for the Home Department
Sub-Committee F considered these documents at
their meeting on 18 March and have asked me to write to you raising
the following points.
1. For all three documents, your Explanatory
Memoranda state that when the opportunity arises you will discuss
the implications of the proposals with non-governmental and voluntary
organisations concerned with asylum and immigration issues. For
each proposal, have you had any such consultations so far? What
consultations do you have planned?
2. In relation to document 11362/97, the
proposed form states "valid only if accompanied by the identity
document number...". Do you understand the reference to an
"identity document" to include documents such as driving
licences and credit cards; or do you understand it to refer only
to an indentity card?
The Sub-Committee has decided to retain document
11362/97 under scrutiny until they have received your answer to
these questions. The other two documents have both been cleared
24 March 1998
Letter from the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP,
Secretary of State for the Home Department, to Lord Tordoff, Chairman
of the Committee
Thank you for your letter of 24 March in which
you requested information on when the Government intended to discuss
documents 11362/97 (a proposal for a uniform format for forms
for affixing visas issued by Member States holding no, or not
recognised travel documents), 11602/97 (a proposal relating to
sharing the costs of film masters for the uniform format residence
permit) and 11748/97 (a proposal for common rules for completing
the uniform format residence permit) with NGOs. You also requested
clarification of the definition of the term "identity document"
contained in document 11362/97.
We have not yet held the discussions with non-governmental
and voluntary organisations concerned with asylum and immigration
issues about any of the three proposals and because of recent
developments such discussions are unlikely to be held in the immediate
future. Indeed, further work on both the substance of these proposals
and their handling within the European Union has shown that this
is unlikely to be necessary. Work on document 11362/97 has been
suspended indefinitely by Member States and we see little practical
value in discussing this proposal further at the present time.
If work on this document were to be resumed then we would consider
arranging a meeting to discuss the implications of this document.
Document 11602/97 is a purely technical paper,
and on reflection it does not seem necessary or productive to
consult NGOs about what is simply an arrangement between Member
States on dividing up the cost of a technical process which enables
the residence permit to be printed in the uniform format. Document
11748/97 is part of a package of measures which relate to the
introduction of the uniform format residence permit itself. Member
States have a maximum of five years to introduce the uniform format
residence permit and the Government intends to take full advantage
of this opportunity not only to look at our current procedures
to check compatibility with the new format but also to take the
opportunity to discuss the introduction of the uniform format
with interested parties from NGOs. My officials will therefore
arrange any appropriate discussion of this document with NGOs
at an appropriate moment.
As I have previously stated the work on document
11362/97 has been suspended. As a result there has been no detailed
discussion on the contents of the draft Joint Action. However,
I believe that the reference to an "identity document"
in this particular context would not include driving licences
or credit cards but would simply refer either to an identity card,
or in some cases the travel document, if this was one that was
not recognised by the Member State in question.
13 May 1998