Clause 19

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 15th March 2007.

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Photo of James Clappison James Clappison Conservative, Hertsmere 9:15 am, 15th March 2007

I want to reflect on what the Under-Secretary has said, but there is one matter that I am unhappy about, which is what she was telling us about fraud and decisions on fraudulent documents. That is because, sad to say, in some posts in particular—although this could also be a general problem—there is a huge problem with fraudulent applications.

The same fraudulent documents may be used in applications made in this country that then go to the asylum and immigration tribunal. Those fraudulent documents—educational qualifications, professional  qualifications or documents showing work experience—can be extremely sophisticated and it requires a great deal of training of immigration officers in their posts to be able to spot the difference between one type of forgery and another. To ask the asylum and immigration tribunal to be able to judge documents from so many different countries and to develop the expertise necessary to sort out the fraudulent documents is asking a great deal of that tribunal sitting in Finsbury Park. I am unhappy about that, because I prefer to rely on decisions that are taken by people who have more experience of identifying these fraudulent documents.

I hope that I have laid down a marker in the remarks that I have made, that I place great reliance on the judgment of immigration officers. However, because I shall want further clarification on this matter, I shall be asking for leave to withdraw the amendment.

My only other point is that I have been talking about people whose applications should be turned down. I do not want to lose sight of the fact that the applications of an enormous number of people who seek leave to come to this country should be granted. I am thinking particularly of students, because it is important that some students come to this country to study—it is of benefit to them, to their country and to this country—but there must be strict control over them and a careful sifting of applications. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.