Clause 35 - Article 33(2): particularly serious crime

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 26th October 2021.

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Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) 5:45 pm, 26th October 2021

My right hon. Friend puts the matter in a way that only he can. To raise the definition to a level that captures only crimes that have resulted in a sentence of four years or more imprisonment would be reckless, and would undermine the aims of the new plan for immigration to build a fair but firm immigration system. It would clearly send the wrong, and dangerous, message that the UK welcomes and rewards serious offenders. I do not believe that the people of the UK want that. The amendments would mean that individuals who commit some of the most serious crimes would continue to receive the generous benefits of refugee status in the United Kingdom. Their continued presence in the UK could also lead to avoidable reoffending. The Government would not be upholding their responsibility to protect the public of the United Kingdom by supporting the amendments.

The hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate queried the process for a person who has been trafficked. I can confirm that such a person will be tested under the second limb for whether they amount to a danger to the community. With regard to offences committed overseas, section 72(3)(c) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 contains a provision to ensure that any convictions abroad would result in a sentence of 12 months or above in the UK for a similar offence.

In the light of those points, I hope that the hon. Member for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East will withdraw the amendment, and that the Committee agree that the clause stand part of the Bill.