Written Question
Domestic Abuse: Victim Support Schemes
29 May 2020, 3:08 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Lister of Burtersett

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 5 May (HL3266), whether local authorities have specifically been told they should offer support to survivors of domestic abuse with a condition of no recourse to public funds; if so, whether it has been advertised so women in communities experiencing such abuse are aware of that.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Local authorities may already provide basic safety net support, regardless of immigration status, if it is established that there is a genuine care need that does not arise solely from destitution. Local Authorities have been asked to work closely with the domestic abuse services in their area, providing support where they deem it necessary in order to protect victims of domestic abuse, for example by providing crisis funding to safe accommodation services.

The Government has announced £28m of funding to support domestic abuse charities of which £10m has been allocated to support additional refuge bed spaces and specialist support. The Home Office has announced an additional £2 million in funding to help bolster specialist helplines and online services so that victims can continue to seek support.

The Government domestic abuse awareness raising campaign under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, signposts victims to sources of advice and support. Details of these services can be found at www.gov.uk/domestic-abuse.


Written Question
Cybercrime: Coronavirus
29 May 2020, 3:02 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Mendelsohn

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 on cybercrime rates; and what plans they have to address any rise in cybercrime linked to COVID-19.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Home Office and its operational partners continue to monitor and respond to the cyber crime threat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current assessments have not indicated an increase in reporting linked to COVID-19. However, cyber criminals are exploiting COVID-19 as an unparalleled opportunity to conduct criminal activity using social engineering, capitalising on people’s anxieties about the pandemic.

On 21 April, the Government launched a revised Cyber Aware campaign to coincide with the launch of the NCSC’s new Suspicious Email Reporting service. The NCA have also launched an advertorial on the popular Games Radar website to deliver PREVENT messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic as the public spend more time online. The advert is designed to deter young people away from becoming involved in cyber-criminality.

We have also recently launched a gov.uk page on coronavirus-related fraud and cybercrime. The page includes easy-to-follow steps for people to better protect themselves and signposts other relevant advice and tips. It can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-fraud-and-cyber-crime.


Written Question
Airports and Ports: Coronavirus
29 May 2020, 2:58 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Bassam of Brighton

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish a detailed plan about the quarantine of international travellers arriving in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic; and whether that scheme will cover ports as well as airports.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Government will soon require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. The General Aircraft Declaration (GAD) process will now be required for all flights coming to the UK, requiring crew to identify symptomatic passengers before arrival, with a similar process being implemented for maritime and international rail. This will contribute to keeping the overall number of Covid-19 transmissions in the UK as low as possible.

Further details, and guidance, will be set out shortly, and the measures and list of exemptions kept under regular review.


Written Question
Email: Fraud
29 May 2020, 2:57 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Lucas

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 14 May (HL3707), what is the current status of their Suspicious Emails Reporting Service.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

In April 2020, the NCSC launched the Suspicious Email Reporting Service. This initiative by the NCSC makes a significant contribution to the Government’s aim to make the UK the safest place to live and work online.

As of 14 May, the Suspicious Email Reporting Service has had more than 300,000 emails submitted, leading to over 2,500 unique URLs, which resulted in 600 bogus sites being taken down. Examples of threats the NCSC has removed with the help of the reporting service include:

- Scam web pages that have been flagged include mock-ups of official GOV.uk and TV licencing websites (visitors are lured into giving their billing information to scammers posing as these legitimate organisations).

- Scam web pages purporting to sell coronavirus linked bogus products such as testing kits, face makes and even vaccines. (The NCSC noted a rise in cyber crime exploiting the coronavirus pandemic last month.)

This automated email reporting service makes it easier than ever for people to help protect others from falling victim to scams. To use the reporting service, people are asked to simply forward suspect emails to report@phishing.gov.uk. If they are found to link to malicious content, it will be taken down or blocked, helping prevent future victims of crime.


Written Question
Places of Worship Security Funding Scheme
29 May 2020, 12:52 p.m.

Questioner: Bambos Charalambous

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the £1.5 million to protect vulnerable places of worship through the Places of Worship Protective Security Programme has been distributed to those places of worship.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

The Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme has awarded funding to 49 places of worship in the 2019/2020 round. Funding for this scheme has been doubled to £3.2 million for 2020/2021.


Written Question
Home Office: Chief Scientific Advisers
28 May 2020, 10:57 a.m.

Questioner: Greg Clark

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many meetings she had with her Department’s Chief Scientific Adviser (a) from 1 September to 30 November 2019 and (b) from 1 December 2019 to 29 February 2020.

Answer (Victoria Atkins)

Ministers meet with Professor John Aston, the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser, as necessary during the process of policy development and delivery. During the periods in question, I met with him on numerous occasions.


Written Question
Firearms: Licensing
27 May 2020, 4:23 p.m.

Questioner: Andrew Bridgen

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, how many UK companies have a licence to supply firearms.

Answer (Kit Malthouse)

Data on how many UK companies have a licence to supply firearms is not available. The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of firearm dealers that are registered with the police in England and Wales. The latest figures on the number of firearm dealers is available from table 6 of the Firearm and Shotgun Certificates in England and Wales Statistics - Financial Year 2018/19publication.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Statistics on Firearm Certificates on issue in Scotland are published by Police Scotland.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland lists its statistical outputs on the Statistics page of its website, but there are no series that are directly comparable to those for England and Wales.


Written Question
Hamas: Proscribed Organisations
27 May 2020, 1:56 p.m.

Questioner: Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of a potential increase in the activity of Hamas in the UK as a result of the economic downturn during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

We do not comment on intelligence matters.


Written Question
Hezbollah: Proscribed Organisations
27 May 2020, 1:54 p.m.

Questioner: Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of a potential increase in the activity of Hezbollah in the UK as a result of the economic downturn during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

We do not comment on intelligence matters.


Written Question
Travel: Coronavirus
27 May 2020, 12:52 p.m.

Questioner: Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to implement the 14 day quarantine for people arriving into the UK.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

On 22 May, the Home Secretary announced the details of new measures at the UK border to guard against a second wave of coronavirus infections, including the requirement for arrivals to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days. The arrangements are due to come into effect on 8 June.

As the UK moves to a situation where domestic transmission is much lower, imported cases may become a higher proportion of the overall number of infections. The requirement to self-isolate will reduce the risk of transmission from this group.


Written Question
NHS: Migrant Workers
26 May 2020, 4:12 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Quin

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to waive the cost requirement for the renewal of visas for those working in NHS hospitals in any capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. [T]

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Government has announced we will extend the visas for a range of healthcare professionals working for the NHS and independent health and care providers, where their current visa expires between 31 March and 1 October. This offer also applies to their families. The 12-month extension is automatic and free of charge and those benefitting will not have to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

This is part of a wider Government approach to supporting the health and care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to keep all of our policies under review.


Written Question
Asylum: Housing
26 May 2020, 2:39 p.m.

Questioner: Ruth Jones

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what financial support the Government is providing to people living in asylum accommodation to ensure that they can access soap, hand sanitiser and other essential personal hygiene items during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Asylum seekers receiving support under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are generally provided with accommodation and a cash allowance to cover other essential living needs, including hygiene products. For those in section 98 Initial Accommodation and hotel or hostel accommodation, hygiene products are provided to them.

As a result of the Covid-19 crisis a higher proportion of asylum seekers than usual are being accommodated in full-board hostels and hotels.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and we are making adjustments to our processes and procedures where necessary and appropriate. There are currently no cases of Covid-19 in the immigration detention estate.


Written Question
Asylum: Finance
26 May 2020, 2:37 p.m.

Questioner: Gill Furniss

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the methodology is for (a) calculating changes to asylum support rates and (b) ensuring those rates are sufficient to allow asylum seekers to avoid destitution; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Chris Philp)

A report published in March 2018 sets out the methodology for calculating the asylum support rates and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-on-review-of-cash-allowance-paid-to-asylum-seekers.

We are currently reviewing the level of the support rate, as we do each year, to ensure that they remain capable of meeting the essential living needs of asylum seekers.


Written Question
Aviation: Coronavirus
26 May 2020, 2:35 p.m.

Questioner: Jim Shannon

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, what steps the Government plans to take to enforce the 14-day quarantine restrictions on people entering the UK during the covid-19 pandemic.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Given the high levels of compliance we have seen to our Covid-19 measures to date, we would hope that the majority of people would do the right thing and abide by these measures. Enforcement would only be used as a last resort.

However, anyone who fails to comply with the mandatory conditions could face enforcement action, including a fixed penalty notice or potential prosecution and a substantial fine.

We will set out further detail shortly.


Written Question
Offenders: Coronavirus
26 May 2020, 2:24 p.m.

Questioner: Dr Matthew Offord

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, whether the deportation of foreign-born convicted criminals has been suspended as a result of the covid-19 pandemic; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Chris Philp)

No, removals of foreign national offenders are still taking place where routes are available, and Immigration Enforcement are following the latest guidance from Public Health England.


Written Question
Undocumented Migrants: Dover
26 May 2020, 2:13 p.m.

Questioner: Gordon Henderson

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate she has made of the number of migrants who (a) entered the UK at Dover (b) were stopped and returned to France immediately and (c) have been deported following a review of their status.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Home Office do not routinely publish this level of data on clandestines, as this could compromise immigration controls and impact on national security.

The Home Office works closely with partners in the UK and overseas to strike people smuggling at source – identifying and dismantling the organised crime groups that facilitate illegal immigration. Additionally, the UK works abroad to reduce factors that may push or force people to attempt such journeys - through creating jobs, tackling modern slavery, providing education and delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance in response to conflicts and natural disasters.

We will continue to work closely with our French counterparts to maintain border security and keep legitimate passengers and trade moving.

At juxtaposed controls and ports around the country, Border Force officers use some of the most advanced detection technology available to find and stop migrants attempting to reach the UK illegally.

The Home Office publishes data on the number of returns from the UK in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of Returns are published in table Ret_D01 of the Returns detailed datasets.

Please note that only some of those returned will have previously entered the UK illegally; others may have entered legally, for example those who enter on a visa and overstay their period of valid leave and are therefore not separately identifiable in the data.


Written Question
Asylum
26 May 2020, 2:10 p.m.

Questioner: Alex Cunningham

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many negative decisions on asylum claims have been made but not served since 23 March 2020.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Home Office publishes data on initial decisions on asylum applications by outcome. This data can be found at Asy_02a, of the published Immigration Statistics December 2019 www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2019/list-of-tables#asylum-and-resettlement. However, this data is not yet published for the period from March 2020.

During COVID-19, Asylum Operations continue to make and serve decisions on cases where there is enough information to do so. In terms of decisions on negative claims ‘made but not served’, the Home Office does not publish data on what is usually a brief interregnum between a decision being written and then served.


Written Question
Undocumented Migrants: English Channel
26 May 2020, 2:09 p.m.

Questioner: Henry Smith

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to Question 41028, whether migrants who have illegally entered the UK in 2020, and have not been returned to other countries due to a suspension of the Dublin Agreement during covid-19 restrictions, will be re-assessed for return once the pandemic is over.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Dublin III Regulation is a long-standing mechanism between EU Member States to determine responsibility for examining asylum claims. It is not an application route for transfer to the UK.

Under the Dublin III Regulation, member states have three months to make a request to another participating member state to take back or take charge of the asylum application. Requested member states have two months from receiving a request to accept or reject responsibility for processing the asylum claim. Once a Dublin request has been accepted, the Regulation provides that the sending Member State has six months to enact the transfer.

The Home Office continues to work closely with EU Member State partners to enact transfers as soon as possible and ahead of the six-month timeframe. We are responding to the unique circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak by closely monitoring the transfer suspensions imposed by other member states and will seek to return those migrants accepted by another member state as soon as the relevant suspension ends, and a route of return becomes available.


Written Question
Undocumented Migrants: English Channel
26 May 2020, 2:06 p.m.

Questioner: Andrew Rosindell

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the monthly cost to the public purse of quarantining refugees who have crossed the English Channel.

Answer (Chris Philp)

All asylum seekers who arrive in the United Kingdom presenting with symptoms of coronovirus are placed in a hotel facility to enable them to self isolate for the 7 days (14 days for families) recommended by Public Health England. Any service users who present with symptoms once housed within the accommodation estate will be supported to self-isolate within that facility. Data on arrival date, route and method of transmission into the UK is not readily accessible, and would require a manual search.


Written Question
Refugees: Families
26 May 2020, 2:04 p.m.

Questioner: Afzal Khan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will expand existing family reunion rules to allow parents to sponsor children over the age of 18 to join them in the UK.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Government has consistently made clear its considerable concern that allowing refugee children to sponsor family risks creating incentives for more children to be encouraged, or even forced, to leave their family and attempt hazardous journeys to the UK. This would play into the hands of criminal gangs, undermining our safeguarding responsibilities.

Government policy makes clear that there is discretion to grant visas outside the Immigration Rules, which caters for extended family members in exceptional circumstances – including young adult sons or daughters who are dependent on family here and living in dangerous situations. Refugees can also sponsor adult dependent relatives living overseas to join them where, due to age, illness or disability, that person requires long-term personal care that can only be provided by relatives in the UK.


Written Question
Refugees: Families
26 May 2020, 2:04 p.m.

Questioner: Afzal Khan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of enabling unaccompanied child refugees in the UK to sponsor close family members to join them in the UK.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Government has consistently made clear its considerable concern that allowing refugee children to sponsor family risks creating incentives for more children to be encouraged, or even forced, to leave their family and attempt hazardous journeys to the UK. This would play into the hands of criminal gangs, undermining our safeguarding responsibilities.

Government policy makes clear that there is discretion to grant visas outside the Immigration Rules, which caters for extended family members in exceptional circumstances – including young adult sons or daughters who are dependent on family here and living in dangerous situations. Refugees can also sponsor adult dependent relatives living overseas to join them where, due to age, illness or disability, that person requires long-term personal care that can only be provided by relatives in the UK.


Written Question
Refugees: Families
26 May 2020, 2:04 p.m.

Questioner: Afzal Khan

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to allow unaccompanied child refugees in the UK to sponsor the safe passage of (a) parents, (b) siblings, (c) grandparents and (d) other close family members to the UK under family reunion rules.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Government has consistently made clear its considerable concern that allowing refugee children to sponsor family risks creating incentives for more children to be encouraged, or even forced, to leave their family and attempt hazardous journeys to the UK. This would play into the hands of criminal gangs, undermining our safeguarding responsibilities.

Government policy makes clear that there is discretion to grant visas outside the Immigration Rules, which caters for extended family members in exceptional circumstances – including young adult sons or daughters who are dependent on family here and living in dangerous situations. Refugees can also sponsor adult dependent relatives living overseas to join them where, due to age, illness or disability, that person requires long-term personal care that can only be provided by relatives in the UK.


Written Question
Refugees: Greek Islands
26 May 2020, 2:02 p.m.

Questioner: Vicky Foxcroft

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many unaccompanied refugee children the UK has resettled from the Greek islands in each year since 2016.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Protecting vulnerable children remains a key priority of this Government and we have a proud record of doing so through our asylum system and our resettlement schemes.

The UK remains fully committed to meeting its obligations under the Dublin III Regulation, and unaccompanied children can continue to transfer to the UK from Greece under Dublin. The Regulation makes it clear that once a take charge request has been accepted for an unaccompanied child, the transfer is the responsibility of the requesting State. Despite covid-19 restrictions, the UK is ready to accept transfers under Dublin whenever Member States are in a position to make those arrangements. We recently worked closely with Greece to complete the transfer of vulnerable people, including unaccompanied children, on 11 May who were united with family members in the UK. We continue to liaise with our counterparts in Member States on what actions can be taken during this period and to effect transfers as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

The Home Office publishes data on the Dublin III Regulation on an annual basis (each February) in the Immigration Statistics. This includes data on the number of requests to transfer into and out of the UK and the number acceptances and transfers into and out of, broken down by article and Member State requesting. The latest data, covering up to 2019, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#dublin-regulation

Instructions on how to use the data can be found in the ‘Notes’ sheet.

The Government remains committed to relocating the specified number of 480 unaccompanied children from Europe to the UK under Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (‘the Dubs amendment’). Over 220 children were transferred to the UK under section 67 when the Calais camp was cleared in late 2016. Since then we have continued to make further progress with participating States including Greece, to move closer to achieving this commitment and we will publish the current number of transfers under section 67 on 21 May 2020 along with the publication of the quarterly immigration statistics.


Written Question
Refugees: Greek Islands
26 May 2020, 2:02 p.m.

Questioner: Vicky Foxcroft

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps her Department has taken to facilitate the resettlement of unaccompanied refugee minors from the Greek islands.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Protecting vulnerable children remains a key priority of this Government and we have a proud record of doing so through our asylum system and our resettlement schemes.

The UK remains fully committed to meeting its obligations under the Dublin III Regulation, and unaccompanied children can continue to transfer to the UK from Greece under Dublin. The Regulation makes it clear that once a take charge request has been accepted for an unaccompanied child, the transfer is the responsibility of the requesting State. Despite covid-19 restrictions, the UK is ready to accept transfers under Dublin whenever Member States are in a position to make those arrangements. We recently worked closely with Greece to complete the transfer of vulnerable people, including unaccompanied children, on 11 May who were united with family members in the UK. We continue to liaise with our counterparts in Member States on what actions can be taken during this period and to effect transfers as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

The Home Office publishes data on the Dublin III Regulation on an annual basis (each February) in the Immigration Statistics. This includes data on the number of requests to transfer into and out of the UK and the number acceptances and transfers into and out of, broken down by article and Member State requesting. The latest data, covering up to 2019, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/asylum-and-resettlement-datasets#dublin-regulation

Instructions on how to use the data can be found in the ‘Notes’ sheet.

The Government remains committed to relocating the specified number of 480 unaccompanied children from Europe to the UK under Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (‘the Dubs amendment’). Over 220 children were transferred to the UK under section 67 when the Calais camp was cleared in late 2016. Since then we have continued to make further progress with participating States including Greece, to move closer to achieving this commitment and we will publish the current number of transfers under section 67 on 21 May 2020 along with the publication of the quarterly immigration statistics.


Written Question
Asylum: Finance
26 May 2020, 1:58 p.m.

Questioner: Kenny MacAskill

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has plans to restore the link between the level of asylum support and social security benefits; and if she will make a statement.

Answer (Chris Philp)

We are currently reviewing the level of the cash allowances, as we do each year, to ensure that these meet the essential living needs of asylum seekers. The level of the asylum support cash allowance is not linked to social security benefits.