Report (1st Day)

Part of Immigration Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 1st April 2014.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 4:00 pm, 1st April 2014

My Lords, I would like to think that by our signing up to the amendment in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, there is a clear expression of those objectives across the Bill as a whole, not just in one section. If the noble Lord doubts our commitment in this regard, he should look at the number of children now held in detention compared with in the past. That has been supported by all noble Lords. It is not something that the Government have done on their own; it has been done because this House and others who care for children and families have been prepared to act in the interests of children and families. Nobody has done more so than the noble Lord. I hope that I have reassured the noble Lord with my statements, and I hope that the Government have reassured noble Lords by their deeds in this regard.

I was asked a number of questions by my noble friend. I do not want to take too long on the issue. My noble friend asked whether removal would not happen where dependency was broken when the former dependant was a victim of domestic violence, and asked me to confirm that proposed new subsection (2B)(b) covers this. I can give that assurance. Removal as a family member will not happen where the dependency is broken, because this scenario would not be covered by proposed new subsection (2B)(b). If there is a breakdown in a relationship such that a partnership no longer exists, the former dependant falls outside the definition in proposed new subsection (2A) and would be dealt with separately. I hope that that helps. I can give a fuller answer to my noble friend in correspondence, if she wishes.

My noble friend asked whether there was anything I could say about how proposed new subsection (2B)(b) will operate, and what the procedure is. In making a decision on whether to serve notice of removal on a family member, having already established the family relationship, an immigration officer or a case worker acting on behalf of the Secretary of State would next have to check whether the family members had leave on the basis of a family life with P. In cases where a family member has no leave, either because they never had any or because previous leave has expired, the immigration officer or case worker would look at whether they would be able to be granted leave in their own right because of their immigration status as an illegal entrant or overstayer, but they might be granted leave on the basis of their family life with P if P otherwise had leave.

My noble friend also asked how,

“where P has care of the child” differed from “parental responsibility”? I think that lies in the fact that we were talking about draft regulations when we were discussing the early draft. That is not necessarily the final wording. The wording prepared by parliamentary draftsmen is designed to include where children are being looked after by someone other than a parent, such as an older sibling, a grandparent or another adult family member. I think that my noble friend kindly answered her own question about “last resort”, so I shall not go into that.

In answer to the noble Lord, Lord Rosser, I can confirm that family members will be given a minimum of 72 hours between receiving notice of removal and any enforced removal, as per current requirements as endorsed by the courts.

My noble friend Lord Avebury has asked me before about the facilities at Heathrow. Unfortunately, the plans for those have been delayed. He is quite right to draw attention to that. I responded to him in those terms. I remain committed to providing him and the House with information on that issue when those facilities are finalised, but at the moment, that is not the case, so I cannot advance our knowledge on that issue any further.

I think that I have covered most of the questions, although I worry that I may not have addressed the issue raised by the noble Lord, Lord Hylton. I promise to read the record and come back to him on that.

I am entirely sympathetic to the intention behind the amendments proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Judd. I hope that I have been able to show how what he seeks to achieve is expressed in the Bill, so I hope that he will be prepared not to move his amendments and, meanwhile, I beg to move mine.

Amendment 1 agreed.

Amendments 2 and 3

Moved by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

2: Clause 1, page 2, leave out lines 28 to 35 and insert—

“( ) the time period during which a family member may be removed under subsection (2);

( ) the service of a notice under subsection (2).”

3: Clause 1, page 2, line 35, at end insert—

“( ) In this section “child” means a person who is under the age of 18.”

Amendments 2 and 3 agreed.

Clause 2: Restriction on removal of children and their parents etc

Amendments 4 and 5 not moved.

Clause 3: Independent Family Returns Panel

Amendment 6 not moved.

Schedule 1: Enforcement powers

Amendment 7

Moved by Lord Ramsbotham

7: Schedule 1, page 60, line 13, leave out paragraph 5