Clause 21 - Transfer of leave stamps

Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 22nd January 2004.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Neil Gerrard Neil Gerrard Labour, Walthamstow

The clause extends the provision in the 1999 Act for charging for the transfer of an indefinite leave stamp from an old passport to a new one to include the transfer of limited leave stamps. I can perhaps understand the logic of charging the administrative costs of doing that, although in many cases it is not necessary. The fact that an indefinite leave stamp or a limited leave stamp is in a passport that has expired does not invalidate the permission to stay, whether the leave is limited or indefinite. However, many people want to have the stamp in their currently valid passport and may have problems, particularly in trying to get an airline to carry them, if they do not have a stamp in their currently valid passport. That would apply in particular to someone who had limited leave of entry.

I would be concerned if we embarked on a regime under which substantial fees were charged simply for transferring stamps from old to new passports—fees that were well above the administrative costs of doing

so—even if it was believed that charging was justified in the first place. I hope that the Minister can give us some reassurance that we will not be in the business of charging more than it costs to carry out the straightforward administrative process of moving a stamp from an old passport to a new one.

Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Citizenship and Immigration), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism)

I can assure my hon. Friend that clause 21 is not affected by clause 20. Fees for applications to transfer leave stamps will be set under Treasury rules and will cover only the full administrative costs. I can also assure him that this is a technical clause in the sense that it will ensure that leave stamps include any new forms of stamps, stickers and other attachments. We are working to new vignettes for residence permits and so on, and the definition of stamps will include some of the new technology that we are using. I hope that that reassures my hon. Friend.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 21 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 22 to 25 ordered to stand part of the Bill.