Clause 19

Part of UK Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:00 am on 15th March 2007.

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Photo of Joan Ryan Joan Ryan Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 9:00 am, 15th March 2007

I welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter, so I am pleased that the hon. Member for Hertsmere has tabled an amendment that touches on issues that will benefit from discussion and clarification.

Let me make a few general comments. Under the points-based system, applicants must prove their entitlement to points by producing, as part of their applications, pieces of evidence specified in the immigration rules and accompanying guidance. That obligation is new to our immigration system, and it is an essential part of the new, objective points-based system. We believe that that requirement will benefit applicants because, unlike now, they will know exactly what they need to provide in order for their applications to succeed. It is, therefore, fair to expect them to supply that evidence up front, with their applications, rather than allowing them to submit it later or even with their appeal papers, as they can now. For that reason, I believe that appellants making appeals under the points-based system should be entitled to ask the asylum and immigration tribunal to consider only evidence that was submitted with their  original application. The tribunal will be allowed to consider new post-application evidence only in narrowly defined circumstances, for the sake of fairness and in order to comply with our international obligations.