Immigrants: Coronavirus

Home Office written question – answered on 27th January 2021.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2021 to Question 137958 and with reference to in-person reporting of migrants to immigration reporting centres during the covid-19 lockdown, if she will publish her Department's (a) risk assessment undertaken as part of that decision and (b) assessment of the potential merits of continuing in-person reporting during the covid-19 lockdown.

Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Secretary of State for Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 19 January 2021 to Question 137958 on in-person reporting of migrants to immigration reporting centres during the covid-19 lockdown, on what basis his Department made a different decision to that made on 24 March 2020 to close reporting centres following the announcement of the covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

On Tuesday 17 March 2020, following Public Health and Government guidance relating to COVID19 and the developing situation, we paused immigration reporting and sent an SMS text message to reportees with a valid mobile telephone number on our systems informing them of this.

On Tuesday 24 March we maintained the decision to close reporting centres and police reporting temporarily following the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. This was because we were not confident that we could practice safe social distancing and operate within a COVID secure environment.

Immigration Enforcement recommenced face to face reporting in July and August for limited, priority cohorts of people. We have implemented Safe Systems of Working (SSOW) and Risk Assessments in all our Reporting Centres where we have put in place robust social distancing measures; health screening questions are asked as a person enters; face masks are offered to those who have travelled without them; and one-way systems and sanitiser stations are placed throughout our buildings. We continue to review our current reporting arrangements in line with any new local and national COVID restrictions that are put in place.

Following the announcement on Monday 4 January 2021 we decided to maintain face to face reporting for priority cohorts of people. Our robust Safe Systems of Working and Risk Assessments remain in place and still adhere to current Government guidance. Those that are required to report at this time are covered for movement under The Health Protection Regulations 2020 where movement is permitted for the purpose of fulfilling a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;

We continue to keep in contact with the overall reporting population by telephone to update individuals on the current reporting position. An SMS text or email/letter is sent to those required to recommence reporting informing them of the date and time they should report, along with relevant advice on COVID. We have also updated the reporting pages on GOV.UK for those who report and their representatives. This information includes how to travel most safely by public transport, avoiding both busy transport hubs and traveling at peak times; advice on reporting alone where possible; and what to do if those reporting have symptoms or are shielding and how to contact their local reporting centre.

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