Clause 19 - Powers in connection with examination, detention and removal

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 3rd November 2015.

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Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General 2:30 pm, 3rd November 2015

I do not want to criticise the hon. Lady for repeating an important point but, as I have already said to her, it is vital to remember that these powers are going to be exercised in a proportionate way, based on genuine intelligence. They are not going to be exercised in a scattergun way that would demand a significant increase in resources. We are confident that the proposals and powers we propose to introduce will make it easier for immigration officers to take that action and remove some of the understandable practical obstacles that exist with administrative procedures such as this, which then end up with a civil consequence as opposed to a criminal consequence. In short, at the moment it is easier for immigration officers investigating a criminal offence to search and seize than it is when it comes to the more practical measure of enforcing the civil consequences of decisions made after due process. This is a harmonisation of powers, if you like—let us remind ourselves that this is not a new power of entry. It relates to a time when immigration officers are already lawfully on the premises. It is a reasonable and proportionate measure. I think that the concerns that the hon. Lady raises are therefore met by the increased flexibility that the authorities are now going to enjoy.