PQs - September 2018

Parliamentary Questions asked of Government and answered in September 2018:


13 September 2018: HC 171417 (Undocumented Workers)

Shadow Minister for Immigration Afzal Khan (Labour) asked the Home Secretary how many people who were arrested for the offence of illegal working were subsequently transferred to an immigration removal centre in each of the last twelve months. Caroline Nokes refused to answer, saying that records are not kept by the Home Office and "no comparable statistics have been compiled or released into the public domain previously."


13 September 2018: HC 171418 / 171419 (Human Trafficking)

Shadow Minister for Immigration Afzal Khan (Labour) asked whether there is a dedicated case-work team in the National Referral Mechanism hub for deciding on referrals made on behalf of potential victims of trafficking who are in detention; and whether potential victims are allocated to a specific team within the UK Competent Authorities. Minister for Immigration Caroline Nokes said that when referred into the National Referral Mechanism, "potential victims of trafficking or modern slavery are considered by one of the UK’s competent authorities: the National Crime Agency (NCA), UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI), and Immigration Enforcement (IE) for a very small number of cases." She also said "The consideration of referrals for potential victims of trafficking who are detained and are not UK or EEA nationals is conducted by trained decision makers within UKVI and IE, depending on the nature of the detention. The consideration of referrals for UK and EEA nationals is conducted by the NCA."


13 September 2018: HC 172556 / 172560 / 172561 (Immigrants: Detainees)

Shadow Minister for Brexit Paul Blomfield (Labour) asked the Home Secretary, pursuant to his statement on Stephen Shaw's follow-up review, if he will publish the findings of the review of how time limits work in other countries; what the timeframe is for the conclusion of that review; and what the process is for charities and people with experience of being detained to be consulted on the review. Caroline Nokes said that the Home Secretary has commissioned a "fact-finding project to understand how time limits on immigration detention work in other countries". The Home Secretary has invited other countries to engage on this project and the timetable for delivery will be driven by their availability. Caroline Nokes said that there were no plans to consult with charities or people with experience of detention because "the focus of this review is to gather facts and information from the Governments concerned". She said that the Home Secretary will "consider the next steps" once the review is complete, refusing to committ to having the review published.


13 September 2018: HL 9959 (Immigrants: Detainees)

Baroness Hamwee (Liberal Democrat) asked the government how many children in the UK had one or both parents placed in immigration detention in each calendar year since 2010; what were the ages of those children; for what period were they separated from one or both parents; and if such records are not kept, why not. Baroness Williams of Trafford did not provide the requested information, saying that "providing the information requested would require a manual check of individual records which could only be done at disproportionate cost."


11 September 2018: HC 136238 (Immigration: Commonwealth)

Helen Hayes (Labour) asked how many Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK before 1973 have been deported, placed in immigration detention and denied recourse to public funds since 2012. Minister for Immigration Caroline Nokes replied, saying that the Home Office is in the process of carrying out a review and identifying individuals from the records. She referred to the update that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid provided the Home Affairs Committee at the end of August. In his letter the Home Secretary writes:

"The unit looked at 11,800 cases of Caribbean Commonwealth nationality, born before 1 January 1973, who have been removed and/or detained by the Home Office since 2002 and sought to identify any individuals where there was an indication in the record that the individual could have been in the UK before 1973...

[From this number the unit has found that] 83 people were removed, and 112 were detained. But as 31 people were both detained and removed the total number of individuals identified as having something on their file which indicates they may have been in the UK before 1 January 1973 is 164. 

Of the 164, there are 18 people for whom there is an indication in the record that they were in the UK before 1973 and who stayed here permanently but were unable to demonstrate their continuous residence here which led to them being removed or detained in an immigration removal centre or a reporting centre.

• 11 of the 18 people voluntarily left the country, with some having been served with immigration enforcement papers informing them they had no right to be in the UK. None were held in detention.

• 7 were detained but were subsequently released without being removed.

These are the people we have so far identified whom we consider are most likely to have suffered detriment because their right to be in the UK was not recognised and therefore where the department is most likely to have acted wrongfully"

This information does not include those deported as 'Foreign National Offenders' because Sajid Javid has sought to make a "purposeful distinction between criminal and other cases". He also notd that "numbers in this report remain provisional and may change"


10 September 2018: HL Volume 792 (Immigration Policy: Children and Parents)

Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Labour) asked the government to what extent has the implementation of immigration policy led to the separation of children from their parents. Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said that Home Office family separation guidance instructs staff to "consider the best interests of any children, including their needs and caring arrangements", before enforcing removal. When asked about the number of separations that occured, Baroness Williams said that exact detail was not available but gave figures from "dip sampling", showing that of 84 foreign national offenders removed from the country between July 2017 and July 2018, two family separations were detected. Baroness Hamwee (Liberal Democrat) made reference to Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and asked whether records of safeguarding decisions were kept (Baroness Williams confirmed that they were). Lord Bassam of Brighton (Labour) said that Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) had estimated there were at least 170 cases where children have been separated from their parents as a result of them being detained. He asked the Home Office to provide accurate figures. Baroness Williams said that she "understood that the [estimated] numbers were 155" and not 170. She did not respond on the request for accurate figures but said she would be happy to look at individual cases of family separation if brought to her attention. She also said that separation is "not necessarily for immigration reasons" but also sometimes because of safeguarding issues.


7 September 2018: HC 168114 (Immigrants: Detainees)

Angela Crawley (SNP) asked how many pregnant women have been deported after being detained in an immigration detention centre. Minister for immigration Caroline Nokes replied "Home Office management information indicates that 104 pregnant women were detained in the immigration detention estate between 12 July 2016 and 30 June 2018. Of these women, 20 were removed from the UK directly from detention." There is a 72 hour limit on the detention of pregnant women that is extendable to up to a week in total with Ministerial authorisation.


6 September 2018: HC 136374 (Deportation: Carribean)

In April 2018 David Lammy (Labour) asked about the detention and deportation of children of Windrush Generation immigrants. He asked about the numbers deported, detained, denied healthcare, denied access to benefits, stripped of their right to work and/or subjected to reporting requirements. He also asked what plans the Home Office had to review such cases.

Caroline Nokes replied in September, explaining that the Home Office has been reviewing the cases of all Caribbean Commonwealth nationals, born before 1 January 1973, who have been removed and/or detained by the Home Office since 2002 to identify individuals who could have been in the UK before 1973. She said that "letters of apology are being sent from the Home Secretary to the eighteen individuals who we consider are most likely to have suffered detriment because their right to be in the UK was not recognised and where the Department is most likely to have acted wrongfully in removing and / or detaining them". However she said that work to identify wronged individuals was ongoing and that the Home Secretary would continue to update the Home Affairs Select Committee. 


5 September 2018: HC 138337 (Immigrants: Caribbean)

In April 2018 Harriet Harman (Labour) asked what the Home Office has previously done to ensure the legality of the detention of those from the Windrush generation. Caroline Nokes replied, laying out the legal parameters: "Detention decisions must be in line with statutory detention powers and relevant case law as well as published policy on their use. As the policy makes clear, there is a presumption against detention." She said that detention occurs after an initial decision by an operationally independent “Detention Gatekeeper” and that reviews are conducted regularly at "successively more senior levels throughout the period of detention to ensure that detention remains both lawful and appropriate". "Case Progression Panels are held for those where detention reaches three months and at three monthly intervals thereafter." Detainees are entitled to apply for immigration bail at the First Tier Tribunal and are automatically referred for "immigration judge bail every four months."


5 September 2018: HC 157613 (Immigration: Windrush Generation)

In June 2018 Harriet Harman (Labour) asked about compensation for members of the Windrush Generation who were wrongly detained and whether anyone has been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Minister for Immigration Caroline Nokes replied, refrring to the ongoing consultation on the 'Windrush Compensation Scheme' saying that "no one applying to the [compensation] Scheme will be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement." She said of a previous non-disclosure agreement that it was a private legal claim and that there was no ministerial involvement.